Badges for Life drive set amid urgent need

First Posted: 6/3/2009

Local law enforcement, fire and rescue personnel will be rolling up their sleeves next week for a special campaign organizers hope will help alleviate a shortage of Type O negative blood.
The second-annual Badges for Life blood drive is scheduled Tuesday at the Mount Airy Rescue Squad headquarters on Frederick Street near Mayberry Mall.
Scheduled from 1:30 to 6 p.m., it will be sponsored by the Mount Airy Police Department, Surry County Sheriffs Office, Mount Airy Fire Department and the rescue squad.
The Badges for Life campaign encourages not only participation by members of those agencies, but the public as well to emphasize the ongoing need for blood supplies. It is especially critical during summer months when vacations and other activities hamper collection efforts.
We just want to volunteer and to give blood and to help out all we can, Mount Airy Police Chief Roger McCreary said of next weeks event.
McCreary added that law enforcement, rescue and fire personnel see firsthand the critical need for blood due to their experiences at scenes of traffic accidents and other emergencies.
American Red Cross official Ashley Mills said organizers were pleased with the first Badges for Life drive last year, which collected 42 units. A good portion of that came from members of the various agencies, said Mills, who is recruitment operations supervisor for the Red Cross.
We know that they help save lives by protecting us every day, Mills said of the police and others involved. The Badges for Life drive just gives them an opportunity to see each other in a different light. At the same time, their visibility provides a good example to the community at large about the need to donate blood, Mills added.
Many officers and others will arrange their work schedules to participate in the drive and others will be there even if its their day off, she said.
McCreary said city police are eager to help the public through such campaigns. Were always involved in a lot of activities in the community not just law enforcement, he said.
Mills said Tuesdays drive will come at a time of great need for Type O negative blood, due to reduced supplies at blood banks. The Red Cross is hoping to avoid a shortage by especially encouraging potential donors with that blood type to give.
Having an adequate stockpile of Type O negative is critical to helping save lives, officials say, because it is the only universal blood variety. That means it can be safely transfused to someone with any other type.
In emergency situations, hospitals rely on Type O negative because there often is insufficient time to determine a patients blood type.
Contact Tom Joyce at [email protected] or at 719-1924.

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