By Clara Snyder | Staff Writer
The “Battle of the Badges” blood drive has returned to the Waco community for its ninth consecutive year and will continue through Sept. 8.
Waco Police Department representative Cierra Shipley said the Waco Fire Department, Waco Police Department and McLennan County Sheriff’s Office partner with Carter BloodCare annually for a friendly competition to get the community excited about donating blood.
“Our police department won the Battle of the Badges last year, but the sheriff’s office has been the consecutive winner for the past seven or eight years,” Shipley said. “Community members who donate can vote for their favorite first responder, and the department with the most votes wins.”
Last year’s drive brought in 365 units of blood. Given one donation can save roughly three adult lives or six infant lives, the Battle of the Badges’ success back in 2021 created the opportunity for 1,100 lives to be saved.
Carter BloodCare consultant Jessica Amaro said donations are particularly important during upcoming holiday weekends such as Labor Day because the need for blood increases during those times. Since they’re the main blood supplier for Baylor Scott and White Hillcrest and Ascension Providence, donations to Carter BloodCare directly benefit the Waco community.
“The blood that’s donated here at Carter BloodCare stays local,” Shipley said. “So you’re potentially helping a family member, friend, neighbor or anyone in your community that might need blood. That’s who you’re giving for.”
Waco Police Department officer Janae Draper and McLennan County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Marco Hinojos said it is important to rally together to donate blood for the community. Draper also said despite how competitive everyone may be, the point of the friendly competition is to teach people the importance of donating blood.
“Ultimately, it would be cool to get other agencies involved, that way they can rally their local community [to donate blood] as well,” Hinojos said.
Teague resident Theisa Lehman said she was passing through Waco and having lunch with a friend when she noticed the blood drive’s donation stand. Lehman said she was unaware of the Battle of the Badges competition and chose to give blood when the opportunity was presented.
“I always give blood,” Lehman said. “I’ve been donating since I was 17. You never know if it’s going to be you who needs the blood, or someone you love.”
Four community blood drives remain before a winner is declared. Further details behind each drive can be found on the Battle of the Badges information page.
Outside of the scheduled blood drive times, individuals can participate in the Battle of the Badges competition any time before Sept. 8 at Carter BloodCare. Walk-ins are welcome.
Amaro said Carter BloodCare will be accepting donations on campus from Monday to Friday during the week of Sept. 12. Students interested in donating can find the donation bus from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. outside of Moody Memorial Library.