Tri-Cities host 5th-annual ‘Battle of the Badges’

Local4 News at 5
Published: Jun. 7, 2023 at 9:32 PM CDT
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KEARNEY, Neb. (KSNB) - First responders usually work alongside each other when we need them, but for a short while, they’ll be opposing foes. The Kearney Police and Fire Departments are competing in the ‘Battle of the Badges’ to see which department can get the most people to donate blood.

Grand Island and Hastings are also in the mix, and votes will be tallied after Hastings Fire and Police hold their blood drive on Friday. After all, first responders see the need for blood every day.

“During the summer months, we see blood donations typically decline, just because people are busy,” said Amanda Wehnes, the account manager for the American Red Cross. “You know they’re at the lake, they’re on vacation, so donating blood is not at the top of their minds in the summer.”

Wehnes said results from the blood drive usually allow patients to spend more time with family, while allowing first responders time to come together for a common cause. They also hope this event helps raise awareness of the need to continuously give blood.

“It allows not only those of us in the first responder community and in the Red Cross community to come together, but it also helps lay people see the need,” said Wehnes. “You know and to see ‘hey, you know this police officer isn’t such a bad guy or gal for giving me a ticket.’”

Wehnes said ‘Battle of the Badges’ is a way to bring different groups together, but that doesn’t stop their competitive edge from coming to the forefront with bragging rights on the line.

“It’s just to bring groups together to bring these groups that kind of like to tease each other and you know razz each other a little bit about you know ‘firefighters spent all day sleeping at the fire house. Well cops only write tickets,’” said Wehnes.

Wehnes said the blood drive also allows the public to interact with first responders, but ultimately donating is about caring for others.

“Every blood donation can impact more than one patient, so when you come out and donate blood you roll up your sleeve, you give us an hour of your time, a pint of your blood and you could be helping potentially more than one patient who really needs that blood,” said Wehnes.

Wehnes said the Red Cross isn’t currently experiencing a shortage, but if donations continue to decline like they did in May and so far in the month June, a shortage is on the horizon.