Dowagiac Fire Department wins second straight Battle of The Badges blood drive

DOWAGIAC — The Dowagiac Public Safety Department and the Dowagiac Fire Department faced off for a cause Friday.

The second annual Battle of The Badges blood drive took place Friday at the Dowagiac Fire Department, 302 Wolf St., Dowagiac, with the fire department earning a victory for the second straight year.

According to Dowagiac Police Department Administrative Assistant Michell Outlaw, the drive collected 49 units of blood, which saves 147 Lives.

“It went really well,” Outlaw said. “We had more people show up than what we were expecting. We had some walk-ins and some financial contributions to the Red Cross.”

Participants were allowed to donate in honor of a family member, loved one or 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.

The fire department defended their title by just a few votes, which meant that the police department had to make dinner for the second year in a row.

Participants were asked to pre-register to donate, though walk-ins were taken. Donor Charles Whorton was named “VIP” after donating blood for the 131st time to the American Red Cross.

Miss Dowagiac Lynsie Stolpe, Miss Cassopolis Kaitlyn Hartsell and Miss Dowagiac runner-up Jenna Davis were on hand volunteering for the event.

“We had some great volunteers,” Outlaw said. “I’m thankful for Miss Cassopolis and the Miss Dowagiac court being able to make an appearance. I think people liked that, to be greeted by beautiful representatives of the community. It was a good way to give back and they seemed to enjoy it.”

The drive was a collaboration between the two departments and the American Red Cross to do something for the holidays that would not cost the community money.

A donor recruitment representative for the American Red Cross, Andy Blake, works with businesses, schools, churches, and anyone in Berrien, Van Buren, Cass, and Kalamazoo counties to set up blood drives, recruit donors, and put on the actual drives.

The Red Cross adheres to CDC guidelines regarding COVID-19 practices, which includes measures such as taking temperatures of donors upon arrival and keeping beds 6 feet apart.

Blake appreciated the community’s support of the event.

“These drives are very important,” Blake said. “With COVID-19, we’ve had a lot of cancellations and it’s been a struggle to put drives in the books. Drives like this bring communities like this together. It was wonderful to see a great turnout. I appreciate the community coming out and supporting us. They helped us save lives.”

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