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Battle of Badges to yield 1,500 pints of blood
A bloody, week-long competition between local public safety agencies came to a close Tuesday.
The annual South Valley Battle of the Badges blood drive, which this year began Nov. 5 and took place across Tulare and Kings counties, pits firefighters, police, forestry, sheriff and other badge-carrying personnel against each other in a friendly competition to garner the most blood donations.
The public also participated in the year-end drive by donating and voting for their favorite badge-carrying entity. All donors received a commemorative T-shirt and a variety of donor reward coupons and prizes. The agency with the most donations, calculated by percentage, took not only bragging rights but a perpetual trophy.
Locally, the Porterville Fire Department was in the lead Monday, with 17 donors or 47 percent of donations made on the department’s behalf. The California Highway Patrol had five donors or 14 percent of donations, the Porterville Police Department 20 donors and the Sequoia National Forest 13 donors.
Darla Silvera, donor recruiter for the Central California Blood Center, said there was a slight drop in donors this year, compared to other years.
“Numbers were down a little bit this year and I don’t know exactly why,” Silvera said, adding that usually more than 100 donors turn up at the local Blood Center to support the Porterville Fire Department. Silvera said the Porterville Developmental Center did not take part in this year’s drive, which usually provides between 200 and 300 donors. She said the small decrease may also be attributed to major layoffs or because agencies like the Porterville Fire Department and CHP are under new leadership.
As of Monday, the drive had 1,208 donors.
Despite the slight drop, Silvera said she believes this year’s community-wide blood drive will yield a satisfactory 1,500 pints of blood.
This was the 11th annual South Valley Battle of the Badges. According to the Central California Blood Center, since the drive began in 2002, more than 15,000 people have signed up to donate blood to help patients in Valley hospitals.
Contact Denise Madrid at 784-5000, Ext. 1047. Follow her on Twitter @DeniseMadrid_.