As the anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks approaches, law enforcement agencies in Tennessee are paying tribute to the victims of the attack by giving blood.
Knoxville County Sheriff’s Office, UT Police, Rural Metro and the Tennessee Highway Patrol are competing in a campaign called “Remembering the Badges” to see which agency can donate the most blood. The goal is to donate as many pints of blood as those who lost their lives that day – a total of 2,977.
UTPD Lt. Dale Wolf said, “Any time we can remember the people who gave their lives serving their community it hits you. Hits you right in the heart.”
Rural Metro spokesman Jeff Bagwell explained the importance of the event for him. “We see people when they are in need. We see people on the front end when they get to the point they need blood. To know we are giving blood on the backside to help them is pretty rewarding,” he said.
For UTPD Assistant Chief of Police Sean Patterson, the campaign hits a little closer than most.
I was assigned to NYPD for 22 years,” said the native New Yorker. “Regardless of how much time passes from September 11, we can never forget the attacks on that day and what took place around this country.”
Patterson told WATE that there was no better way of paying tribute on the anniversary of that day than remembering it in spirit through community effort and sacrifice.
“It’s a really special thing to see that again. Where everyone is coming together to commemorate a sad milestone but to basically invoke that same spirit. That volunteer spirit, to come together and help once again. So many people made a sacrifice. So many people made the ultimate sacrifice,” he said.
The campaign, which ends on the anniversary, will donate the blood to the Red Cross.
Patterson added: “It keeps their memory alive, and they are not forgotten. And the ability to save a life is a tremendous feeling.