A friendly competition between the Manhattan area emergency services is coming soon with the 16th Annual Battle of the Badges as the Riley County EMS, Riley County Police and Manhattan fire Department will be competing against each other for votes of the people and donations of blood.
The event takes place Monday, July 22 and Tuesday, July 23 at St. Thomas More Church, 2900 Kimball Ave. in Manhattan. American Red Cross Account Manager Kristi Ingalls highlighted the significance of this competition on a recent edition of KMAN’s In Focus.
“About 16 years ago when I first started with the Red Cross I reached out to all three awesome departments and threw out this idea of what do you say we do this Battle of the Badges,” Ingalls said. “In the summer months is when we really hurt and need that blood and they all responded, and it has been a really great turnout ever since.”
This year’s goal for the two-day drive is 288 pints of blood. She says they’re currently in an emergency appeal for blood. As of Monday, they were already have way to their needed goal for appointments. Ingalls says it’s a fun event with how each department tries to lure people to vote for their department.
“Each of the three departments comes and they represent at the blood drive,” Ingalls said. “It’s just kind of a fun filled way to do it. They come and they kind of razz donors. They come in and they say, ‘Hey, let me open this door for you. Don’t forget who to vote for’ They usually have some fun goodies to give away.”
Manhattan Deputy Fire Chief Ryan Almes joked that the fire department will have an edge over the other departments because they are bringing a firetruck.
The Riley County Police Department is the reigning champion from last year, and they will look make it back-to back.
Although the Riley County EMS, Riley County Police Department and the Manhattan fire Department will be competing against each other in the event, James Marstall of the Riley County EMS said, “No matter who wins, we just hope people come out and donate — because it is life saving.”
Battle of the Badges begins on Monday, July 22 from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Tuesday, July 23 from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. To make an appointment, call 1-800- Red Cross, or go to the Blood Donor app to make an appointment, or go online to Red Cross Blood.org.