ROCHESTER, Minn. - A friendly competition between the Rochester Fire Department, Olmsted County Sheriff's Office, Rochester Police Department, and Gold Cross Ambulance Service kicked off June 1st. Between now and August 31st, people giving blood at the Mayo Clinic Blood Donor Center in the Hilton Building can dedicate their donation to their favorite first responder group.
The winning first responders take home a trophy and bragging rights. The Rochester Fire Department currently hold the trophy from winning last time. "It's always fun to have competition with the Rochester Police Department, the Sheriff's Office, and the Mayo Clinic Ambulance. More importantly, we just want to raise awareness," says Ben Davis, Rochester Fire Department motor operator.
2018's Battle of the Badges was held in the fall and winter, but the Mayo Clinic moved it to the summer months this year. There's a shortage of donors because people are traveling and schools are out for the summer and can't host blood drives. The need for blood in the summer increases because more people are out and about, so the potential for accidents increases. Snowbirds return to Minnesota and some people schedule surgeries during the summer months.
The hope is that the friendly competition will draw in more donors. Mayo would particularly like to increase the amount of young donors regularly giving blood. "Hopefully the young professional that's out there can find a little bit of time in the summer to come down and donate for one of these teams," says Dr. Justin Kreuter, Medical Director of the Blood Donor Center.