AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — “We want people to understand that we’re all in this together. It’s a competition, it’s a friendly competition. We do play this game, we take it seriously we want to win. But it us in this together. We’re a community, we’re here for the community. So, we definitely want people to know we’re all in this together.”
Today kicked off the 14th annual Boots & Badges Blood Drive at Coffee Memorial Blood Center. The drive is supported in large part by the Amarillo Police Department and the Amarillo Fire Department. APD Corp. Jeb Hilton said as much fun as the competition between APD and AFD is, with the area in an emergency blood shortage, the message is much more urgent and deeper.
“It’s a big area, and we need a lot of blood to help stock those places,” he said. “It’s summertime, we’re seeing more accidents, more people are getting out, people are having babies, people have cancer. Things are going on where we need this blood supply.”
Cpl. Hilton said the way the blood drive works is, when you go to donate blood during the campaign, which lasts until August 7, you can cast a vote for APD or AFD. The winner of the drive the last few years has been APD.
But that pails in comparison to what the drive is truly about. Coffee Memorial Blood Center serves 31 counties and 29 medical facilities in the area. CMBC officials said t hey need 125 units of blood a day just to maintain supply for area patients. Currently, they have about one day’s supply of blood.
“We’re in a dangerous emergency blood shortage, and this is nationwide,” said Misti Newsome, Account Consultant for Coffee Memorial Blood Center. “So that’s what makes it even more scarier than normal, is the fact that we don’t really have anybody to turn to because blood banks across the nation are in the same situation that we are, so it’s really important that people get out and donate. Especially today, and the weeks coming up, we’re going into the July 4th holiday. So, we need all blood donors out here today.”
Newsome said all of the appointment slots they had open for the drive were booked full, but walk-ins were accepted too. Participants received a grab bag with shirts, a Wonderland WOW Pass, a $10.00 Cinergy Play Card, a gallon of milk and a pint of ice cream.
Last year, CMBC set a record for blood donations on launch day of the drive with 420. This year, Newsome said they’re aiming to hit 500 donations.
The Boots & Badges campaign will conclude with the 13th Annual Boots vs. Badges Softball Game on Saturday, August 7 at HODGETOWN. Proceeds from the game go to Coffee Memorial Blood Center and The 100 Club.
“We’re just encouraging people to come on, come on out, support our first responders,” said Suzanne Talley, Executive Director of The 100 Club. “Have a fun night a HODGETOWN, cheer on the fire and police and let’s just have a great time.”
General admission tickets are $6.00 and can be purchased the day of the game at the gate. Gates will open at 6:05 p.m., with the game beginning at 7:05 p.m.