Annual Battle of the Badges between firefighters and police officers benefits the Red Cross
Tuesday, June 28 — On Saturday, local firefighters and policemen took to the basketball court as the first step in a drive for blood donations. The final score — which saw firemen in the lead— launched a running competition between these organizations. Now, however, it’s anyone’s game, as it’s up to donors to decide who they want to win.
But while competition may help drive the effort, salvation is at the heart of this rivalry. Over the next two weeks, the Red Cross hopes to collect over 700 units of blood, to augment their stores. The competition is one way it hopes to counteract the traditionally slow summer months, explained Monica Stoneking, communications director for the American Red Cross.
“People are out travelling, or with family, or they just don’t think to donate blood,” Stoneking said. “So we figured we could partner with people out there every day, helping to save lives. We’re helping to save lives too, just in a different way.”
The Battle of the Badges, as it has come to be called, has been a staple of the Lansing area for the past 11 years. While each year the Red Cross tries to make the event a little different, it’s always about promoting the importance of blood donation and paying thanks to the homegrown and oft-unsung heroes of the community.
To that end, all fire and police departments from the Greater Lansing area have been invited to participate. When donating, people can vote for either firemen or policemen. At the end, the tallied votes will determine who won the battle.
The blood itself will go to help those in need, at home or abroad, in case of disasters like the tornadoes that struck Missouri and Alabama last month.
“Every one donation helps to save up to three lives,” Stoneking said. “Blood can be broken down to three products: whole blood, platelets and plasma. You take an hour out of your time, you’re positively impacting up to three people.”
If that isn’t enough of an incentive, the contest also includes the potential for prizes, as well as food. Every month this summer, everyone donating throughout the Great Lakes area will have the opportunity to win a $500 Best Buy Gift card, a $125 Meijer gas card and Common Ground concert tickets, among prizes.
Kroger and Cottage Inn Pizza will provide breakfast and lunch items, respectively, for donors at the Lansing Donor Center.
“It’s our way of letting our donors know that a) w appreciate them; and b) we understand the tough economic times — and donating blood doesn’t cost anything. I know this sounds clich,” Stoneking said, “but what better gift to give than the gift of life?”
The contest ends on July 9. To give blood, appointments can be arranged with the Lansing Donor Center.