‘Battle of the Badges’ aims to improve blood donations

The traveling trophy will be awarded to the department earning the most donations at Friday's event. Next year, the Battle of the Badges challenge will pit Prince George's against D.C. first responders who will have a chance to take the trophy and earn bragging rights. (Courtesy Red Cross Blood)

WASHINGTON — Hearing about an emergency need for blood in the wider Metro D.C. area, first responders in Prince George’s County, Maryland, decided to answer the call with a friendly competition being held Friday.

The Battle of the Badges” is aimed at getting people to donate blood with the American Red Cross. Public safety agencies from throughout the county are participating, with blood donors picking a team to help decide which department earns bragging rights and the “traveling trophy.”

“They loved the idea; they jumped on board full throttle. It’s just been amazing,” Regina E. Boothe Bratton of the American Red Cross said.

photo shows a trophy
The winner of the “Battle of the Badges” gets the trophy. (WTOP/Kristi King)

“Police vs. Fire/EMS — a competition where everyone is a winner (but pick PGFD),” said Prince George’s County Fire Department spokesman Mark E. Brady.

The event will include giveaways, T-shirts, snacks, first responders showing off hardware, the county helicopter and K-9 unit. Chiefs of various departments will be there.

“Also, we will have the ‘Chief On The Go Event,’ where you can meet Chief Stawinski, his division commanders and ask questions about how your police department is working for you,” Police Cpl. Harry Bond said. “We will have a few surprises on hand as well. We look forward to seeing you there.”

The Red Cross supplies blood to 53 area hospitals. “We have been experiencing a summer blood shortage, so we have an emergency need,” Bratton said.

People as young as 16 years old can donate with parental consent, as long as they weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health.

The event will be on Friday, Aug. 24 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Kentland Community Centers (2413 Pinebrook Ave.; Hyattsville, Maryland). Donations begin at 10 a.m.

Editor’s Note (08/25/2018): The region’s inaugural Battle of the Badges helped the Red Cross collect enough blood to help 130 people. The police department now is in possession of the traveling trophy.

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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