Richland County deputies, Columbia Police officers, and Columbia firefighters compete for most blood donor votes in the annual drive

By W. Thomas Smith Jr.

The Richland County Sheriff’s Department (RCSD), the Columbia Police Department (CPD), and the Columbia Fire Department (CFD) are partnering with the American Red Cross once again in the annual BATTLE OF THE BADGES BLOOD DRIVE scheduled for Friday, May 28. The drive will be held in two locations in Columbia.

“Giving blood is easy, quick, painless, and necessary,” says Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott. “It’s a simple way to serve our communities and quite literally save lives, and the competition between agencies is a lot of fun.”

Rebecca Jordan, executive director of the American Red Cross of Central South Carolina, agrees.

“Our local emergency responders get a firsthand look of the constant need for blood when they arrive at emergency scenes everyday,” said Jordan. “By hosting this blood drive, they are showing their support and ensuring that blood is readily available for emergencies. Our local law enforcement are community servants, and this drive is just another example of that.”

Participating blood donors will be able to give blood, and receive both a free COVID-19 antibody test and a free t-shirt. Then they will cast a vote for their favorite agency whether it be RCSD, CPD, or CFD.

RCSD has led the competition every year since 2016 when the blood drive was then billed as “Boots and Badges.” The year 2020 was an off-year because of COVID, but RCSD hosted its own also-successful drive with the American Red Cross.

In 2016, RCSD collected 49 units of blood. In 2017, RCSD received 50 units. In 2018, 40. In 2019, 59. And then in 2020, 81.

In 2016, CPD and CFD jointly collected 58 units. In 2017, 37 units. In 2018, 35. And in 2019, 36.

“Success by all in any measure,” adds Lott.

Donors may give blood at one of two locations:

The Richland County Sheriff’s Dept. Decker Center
2500 Decker Blvd.
Columbia, S.C. 29206

Charles Drew Wellness Center
2101 Walker Solomon Way
Columbia, S.C. 29201

Doors open at both centers for the May 28 BATTLE OF THE BADGES at 7:00 a.m. with the blood drive ending at 3:00 p.m.

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