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East Texas law enforcement agencies gather for friendly competition as nation experiences blood shortage

Published: Jul. 16, 2021 at 6:32 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 16, 2021 at 9:45 PM CDT
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CENTER, Texas (KTRE) - Members of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office and the Center Police Department gathered Friday for some friendly competition. The two agencies competed in the Battle of Badges Blood Drive with hopes to encourage members of the community to donate blood to the team of their choice.

Every two seconds an American needs blood, Tamara Billiot a director at the Blood Center of East Texas said the country is experiencing a nationwide blood shortage.

“A nationwide blood shortage is a huge problem because normally we can rely on each other. Our blood center can, say, rely on a blood center in Dallas or a blood center in New York. You know if we are having a problem in our area, we can call up on them and they will resource share with us to make sure our patients are served, and we do the same for them. For example, if there is a shooting or a major ice storm or something up north, we will send our resources to them,” Billiot said.

And this problem is happening in East Texas.

“Well, I have been with the blood center for 20 years and I would say this year has been the worst shortage I have seen personally. We are meeting the patients’ needs… I do not want to, you know, freak people out… but we need you to come donate. We are in desperate need,” Billiot said.

Billiot said that more people need blood now due to the postponing of surgeries during the pandemic.

“A lot of the usage that would’ve happened in 2020 is happening in 2021, and even though we’re meeting the collection goals that we set, they’re 14 percent higher the needs are. So that is why we’re in such desperate need right now,” Billiot said.

The Battle of Badges blood drive offered prizes to donors and provided them with the option to purchase lunch from local food trucks.

Billiot said they are very grateful of all the donors help so far. They hope to encourage others to follow in their footsteps.

“We’re going to do our best to continue to meet the patients’ needs, but we need the community to help us,” Billiot said.

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