For 16 years the Sioux Falls Police Department has taken on Sioux Falls Fire Rescue in a battle for blood to see which team can collect the most units over the holidays and as Nancy Naeve Brown tells us, trophy or not, the community wins.
Neal Ferrin and Aleida Meyerhoff are more than happy to roll up their sleeves and give the gift of life at the community blood bank Avera McKennan location. They are among hundreds doing their part to help in the 16th annual "Heroes Behind the Badges" Blood Drive. It's a friendly competition between Sioux Falls Police Officers and Firefighters during a time of year that typically is low on blood donors, but high on elective surgeries.
Avera McKennan Lab Manager Dawn Ver Hoeven says, "Cold and flu season tends to hit this time of year and those individuals are unable to donate so we really want to target healthy individuals to come in, we need you to come in and be regular donors. Whether it's this time of year or only this time of year we are happy to have you donate anytime."
On average, patients at Avera McKennan hospital use about 500 units of blood a week. They are extremely short on O-negative right now so this blood drive is critically important at a critical time.
Division Chief Jim Sideras with Sioux Falls Fire Rescue says, "We see trauma patients that need blood but also some of our own firefighters have had cancer and need blood transfusions so it's been both internal and external that need blood."
Sioux Falls Police Officer Bridget O'Toole says, "It's a fun time for us to give a plea to the community for something that's fun. A lot of times we are asking for information on a crime, but this time it's for something fun. Plus, you get rewarded with a T-shirt and other businesses have partnered with us to get people out."
And don't be surprised if you see an armadillo either. Andy the Armadillo (mascot) from Texas Roadhouse is giving a free appetizer card to everyone who donates during this blood drive.
Sideras says, "We need more than just fire and police officers. We need everyone to join behind us in this program."
They hope to collect 800 units of blood that means 800 people have to donate to meet the goal. A goal that will save lives lead by the men and women who do that for a living everyday.
The restrictions have also been lifted on folks who've gotten tattoos in the last year if you got it at a sterile environment like a tattoo parlor so you can't use that excuse not to give!
Again the blood drive goes until January 7th. For locations to donate blood go to: http://www.cbblifeblood.org/