The Texoma Regional Blood Center is encouraging donors to take part in the Battle of the Badges blood drive on its final stop in Sherman Wednesday. The blood bank's mobile donation center will be parked at the Grayson County Courthouse Wednesday and remain open from 7 a.m to 7 p.m.

Now in it's 15th year, the annual summer blood drive stops in Denison, Sherman and Bonham and gives donors the opportunity to cast a vote in favor of either police officers or firefighters, but since the center is critically low, blood donations are especially important.

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“We're critically low on all blood types,” Donor Recruiter Brandy Barnard said Tuesday. “There's been a nationwide shortage this summer that has put a damper on all centers.”

Barnard said this year's final tally won't be available until the drive concludes July 31, but the Battle of the Badge usually generates around 200 donations.

“One unit saves at least three people's lives,” Barnard said. “You're helping to save the lives of cancer patients, people who've been in serious accidents, people who are having surgeries.”

Barnard said the drive is open to healthy donors as young as 17 years old, but the organization has received donations from much older individuals, including an 84-year-old regular whom Barnard said still donates as often as he can.

“It only takes about 30 minutes and you need an ID,” Barnard said. “If you're on any medications, bring a list of those in with you and make sure you eat a good meal before come in.”

Becky Burtner showed up in Sherman Tuesday for her 61st donation with the Texoma Regional Blood Center.

“I'm on my eighth gallon,” Burtner said. “And I do it because even if you're having a lousy day, you can still save several people's lives. Then it ends up being a good day.”

The drive will be held during the same hours in Bonham on July 30 and 31 at Legend Bank, which is located at 502 N. Center Street. For additional information, call the Texoma Regional Blood Center at 903-893-4314.