Waco Battle of the Badges ready to boost blood supply with friendly first responder competition

Published: Aug. 23, 2022 at 7:05 AM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - Waco’s ninth annual Battle of the Badges Blood Drive is asking the community to donate blood and to support the competition between Waco first responders.

“It is a community-wide event that helps us raise awareness for the need for blood, and, at the same time, it gives our agencies an opportunity to compete for the favorite first responder,” Jessica Amaro with Carter Blood Care said.

The event started this week at Baylor, Scott & White Medical Center - Hillcrest. This gives workers the opportunity to donate, but Battle of the Badges will officially kick off Saturday, Aug. 27 at Bubba’s 33.

The blood drive is usually the week before and after Labor Day.

“Labor Day weekend is actually a critical time for us because you have a lot of folks that go on vacation,” Amaro said. “They’re out and about, and, so, we sometimes see a drop in collections. So, this event is to help us and make sure that we have blood on our shelves.”

It also comes after a summer blood shortage that usually happens when school is out, and blood banks cannot collect donations from high school and college students, which make up about 25% of Carter Blood Care’s donations.

But, it’s not just any blood drive--it’s a friendly competition between the Waco Police Department, Waco Fire Department and McLennan County Sherriff’s Office.

While it is a gentle rivalry, the departments are motivated to win, especially Waco PD who won last year.

“Vote Waco PD,” Jenae Draper, Waco PD officer, said. “The police department is going to win this year.”

The city’s first responders hopes the community will come donate and help them save many lives just as they do every day.

“It means a lot because the blood stays local,” Draper said. “Just what we do day in and day out, we see lots of incidents and lots of tragedies, so knowing that the community is willing to come in and help out and be a part of this to help save lives just as we’re out there saving lives, it means a lot.”

Once someone donates at one the following locations, he or she will be able to vote for one of the departments.

  • August 26 – Ascension Providence: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. (for hospital workers but anyone can donate)
  • August 27 – Bubba’s 33: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
  • August 30– Waco Police Department: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
  • September 1 – Waco Police Department: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
  • September 7 – Waco City Hall: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
  • September 8 – Waco City Hall: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

The blood drive does accept walk-ins, but there is a sign-up link for specific time slots during the above times.