A small American Red Cross blood donation van was parked behind Pomona’s Civic Center to collect blood for the police department’s annual Battle of the Badges on Feb. 19.
Twelve people took the time to donate their blood at the event hosted by the American Red Cross.
The event occurs throughout the nation, usually in the beginning of the year as that is when the Red Cross needs donations the most.
“This event is a smaller event for the Pomona Police Department; we were only expecting 18 donors to attend,” American Red Cross volunteer Armando Martell said. “That’s why we have the smaller van and not the giant bus most people expect.”
A few Pomona police officers showed up to donate blood, but the American Red Cross volunteers ran the event.
The event was simple and at times slow, but it reached its goal of raising blood to help those in need, according to Martell.
The last donor of the day sat inside the van and patiently waited as a volunteer drew her blood.
Battle of the Badges began in 2007 and became a way for badge carrying personnel to positively impact the community while hosting friendly competition amongst the different badges, according to the American Red Cross’ website.
“Border Patrol, fire departments, police departments, even the Secret Service all host this event within their respective communities,” Martell said.
“The Red Cross is more in need of blood donations after the holidays, so we depend on this to help raise blood for patients who need blood transfusions,” American Red Cross volunteer Cynthia Lerma said.
The holiday season is when most people go on school break or leave for vacation, and as a result, the American Red Cross suffers from a lack of blood donations.
It is vital that the organization keeps daily donations constant to fulfill hospital needs. Hosting the event at the beginning of the year allows blood supply to remain constant, according to the website.
The blood that is raised directly aids those involved in accidents, cancer patients, seniors and premature babies.
At the end of the “Battle of the Badges” event season, the American Red Cross gives out awards to the badge wearing personnel for various accomplishments.
The awards given include one for greatest number of donors present at a single drive, greatest number of individuals from an individual agency, greatest number of donors from an agency overall, greatest number of donors per capita at a single drive, greatest participation overall agency, greatest blood drive growth from year to year, 50+ brigade, rising star and holiday heroes.
The Battle of the Badges 2014 competition season began Jan. 15 and continues through the month of February.
Liz Ortiz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.