Last updated: August 23. 2013 6:26PM - 118 Views

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LIMA — There's an old saying a little friendly competition never hurt anyone. Area firefighters and law enforcement officers are hoping their latest contest helps as many people as possible.The fourth annual American Red Cross Battle of the Badges blood drive kicked off Tuesday at the local chapter house, 610 S. Collett St. The two-day drive pits firefighters versus law enforcement in a battle for bragging rights for the group that donates the most units of blood. “We see the need every day in the work we do. It gives us a chance to give back — literally give back to the community,” Lima Fire Chief Mark Heffner said. “The competition's fun. During the donation time there's a little back and forth banter. It's a lot of fun and for a good cause.”The annual drive is in its fourth year locally, according to Karen Jantzi, director of blood services for the Allen County chapter of the American Red Cross. The drive helps fulfill a critical need for blood donations during the summer when donations traditionally wane, she said.“May and June were especially difficult,” Jantzi said. “We went through a period where there were natural disasters going on where blood drives had to be canceled. It was a tough time. We're trying to get all these extra units now.”Jantzi said it takes 500 units of blood a day to supply the 60 hospitals in the blood region to which Lima belongs. The drive has been growing each year with hopes of generating 150 units this year, she said.“So far, we've had a great response,” she said.Jantzi said firefighters took home the bragging rights the first two years the event was held locally. Law enforcement won last year and are hoping for their own repeat following this year's drive, said Sgt. Scott Nolan, of the Allen County Sheriff's Office.“Throughout most of the county we know most of the firemen, we get along with them, we respect them,” Nolan said. “This is fun when we're able to come together and share the camaraderie and poke and prod at each other.”You can comment on this story at www.limaohio.com.

Battle of the Badges blood drive begins

Battle of the Badges blood drive begins
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