To tussle for blood donations and a trophy, Denison first responders will host the Battle of the Badges Blood Drive Thursday and Friday.


The annual event places firefighters and police against each other for the benefit of the Texoma Regional Blood Center. Francis Campbell, TRBC director of donor resources, said the competition helps area residents realize that there’s always a need for blood donations.


“I think it just gives the community awareness that we’re in need during the summer time, not just during the fall and spring,” Campbell said. “But we need people to come out during the summer time to support us and help us out. This is just a good way to get it out there, and it’s an event people like to participate in.”


During the two-day drive, each blood donor is given a ticket they place into a bucket corresponding to the Denison Police Department or Denison Fire Rescue. The tickets are tallied at the end of the event, and the winning department takes home a trophy.


Last year, Denison Fire Chief Gregg Loyd relinquished his department’s tickets as he wanted to show solidarity with the police following the attack on officers in Dallas. This year, however, the competition is back on.


Denison Fire Marshal John Weda said the fire department has taken the trophy almost every time in past years, so they plan to do so again.


“I think anytime you got a little competition out there, especially between public safety, police and fire, it gets some more attention, and hopefully it brings more people in to donate blood,” Weda said. “Obviously, this time of year is the time it’s needed.”


While Denison Police Lt. Mike Eppler said his department expects to take home the trophy again, he also said the competition helps bring out donors who do not normally give.


“It’s extremely important, especially right now, there’s such a need for blood,” Eppler said. “Our blood center has been having to go to other places to get a supply to meet the needs here.”


At the Denison event last year, 102 units of blood were raised. Sherman emergency personnel raised 122 units at the Battle of Badges last week. Campbell said the local hospitals are going through a lot of blood, and the units raised last week will not last long. The two most common blood types, O-positive and A-positive, are always needed, but Campbell said there’s a need for any type.


“There’s a lot of people going through the hospitals that are needing blood, so we just need to keep up with what they need,” Campbell said.


Weda said giving a pint a blood can help save a life, and that life could be a neighbor, a friend or a family member.


“So there’s nothing hard about giving blood — there’s nothing to it,” Weda said. “The life you save could be one of your own family members.”


On Thursday, the drive will take place outside the fire station at 700 W. Chestnut St., and on Friday, it will be across from the police department at 108 W. Main Street. The event lasts from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on both days, and refreshments are provided. Campbell noted that this year’s T-shirts are gray in color.


“Come out and support the community, your community blood supply, your neighbors, your friends because all of our stuff does stay local,” Campbell said.


The next Battle of the Badges is set to take place in Bonham on Aug. 10-11.