Law enforcement agencies across the country compete in the American Red Cross’s “Battle of the Badges,” a friendly competitive blood drive to see who can recruit the most donors from their respective communities, and to raise awareness of the importance of donating blood.
In South Carolina, Orangeburg Department of Public Safety (ODPS) was declared the winner of their “Battle of the Badges” competition that included ODPS, the Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office, Clarendon County Sheriff’s Office, Bamberg Police Department and Bamberg Fire Department.
According to the Johnson City Press, ODPS had the most donors with 19. In total, the event collected 26 units of blood from 31 donors, saving 85 lives.
One of Orangeburg’s donors, Donald Rickenbaker, who is also the father of ODPS Sgt. Angel Rickenbaker, knew the importance of donating blood after requiring transfusions himself.
“I lost three and a half pints of blood,” said Rickenbaker. “I had some friends donated blood, and I thought that was the greatest thing. Blood saves lives. You give a pint of blood, and they can break it down to help several people.”
Orangeburg’s Fire Marshall, Jonathan Winningham, also stressed the importance of donating blood: “Blood is always in short supply, and it is always needed. I’ve had family members who needed blood during emergency surgeries before. It was nice that supply was there for them. That’s why I did this, to give back.”
Furthermore, two of ODPS’s donors were “power red” donors; their blood is drawn using a special machine that collects 2 units of blood while returning the donor’s platelets and plasma at the same time.
ODPS Officer Lauren Riddle, who works as the department’s recruiter, was one of those power red donors.
“I don’t donate on a regular basis, but I do try to participate in blood drivers or donate to the Regional Medical Center since they offer paid time off to employees when someone donates on their behalf,” she said.
Riddle began donating blood at age 18.