Dowagiac police, fire departments to host second annual Battle of The Badges blood drive

DOWAGIAC — The Dowagiac Public Safety Department and the Dowagiac Fire Department are on a mission to save lives, one unit of blood at a time.

The second annual Battle of The Badges blood drive is set to take place from 11 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23 at the Dowagiac Fire Department, 302 Wolf St., Dowagiac in the training and fire bay. 

DPSD executive secretary and blood drive coordinator Michell Outlaw said that 60 units of blood were collected at last year’s drive, making it the most successful Dowagiac blood drive recorded in the past 10 years.

According to the American Red Cross, nationwide, someone needs a unit of blood every two to three seconds.

“It went even better than expected,” Outlaw said. “We were insanely busy, but that’s a good problem to have. It was so successful that we decided to make it an annual event.”

Those who donate will have the opportunity to donate on behalf of the fire department or public safety department. At the end of the drive, the losing department must make dinner for the winning department. Last year, public safety lost to the fire department by three votes.

“It’s a fun rivalry that brings us all together,” Outlaw said. “It’s nice to see the community support both departments.”

According to Outlaw, the event began as an idea to do something for the holidays without having to cost members of the community money. 

“The economy seemed strapped,” she said. “We wanted to find a way for families to give back that didn’t cost money, while also saving lives. This year is even more important. Families are looking for things to do and blood donations are significantly down this year.”

Outlaw hopes this year’s drive will be even more successful than last year’s, despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Unlike last year, walk-ins will not be allowed due to the persistence of the pandemic. Interested parties are asked to schedule an appointment at redcross.org and enter the sponsor code “DOWAGICFIRE”, or call the Red Cross hotline at 1-(800)-733-2767.

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