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Hermantown police, firefighters compete in giving blood

Doug Bolander, with the Proctor Police Department (left), and Tom Wick, with the Hermantown Police Department, visit while donating blood in the “Battle of the Badges” event held at Hermantown Federal Credit Union on Wednesday. The event challenges local police and fire departments to be a part of a competitive blood drive to help save lives through blood donations. (Bob King /

It’s a real blood sport.

Local firefighters and police officers are competing this week to donate the most blood to the Memorial Blood Centers.

The third annual Memorial Blood Centers’ “Battle of the Badges” blood drive kicked off Wednesday at Hermantown Federal Credit Union. The Hermantown Police Department and Hermantown Fire Department were going head to head to win the “Battle of the Badges” title. Last year, the Hermantown Police Department lost by one unit of blood to the Hermantown Fire Department.

“The fun comes secondary to the mission, which is to donate a lot of blood,” said Hermantown Police Chief Jim Crace. “This is very near and dear to my heart because my mother-in-law had leukemia, and while she was trying to fight it, she needed numerous blood transfusions.”

The public also is invited to donate blood. Donors can decide if they want their blood to go toward the Hermantown Police Department or the Hermantown Fire Department.

First-time blood donor Jessica Albrecht wanted her unit of blood to go toward the Hermantown Fire Department.

“My husband is a firefighter for the Hermantown Fire Department, so I want them to win,” Albrecht said. “It was awesome, and the staff was very friendly, which made the process a little easier.”

Memorial Blood Centers officials said they need Type O-positive, Type O-negative, Type B-positive and Type B-negative blood because they are running extremely low.

“Our goal is to have at least 20 donors a day (from Wednesday to Saturday),” said Michele Keil, a Memorial Blood Centers donor recruiter. “Today, we had 22 people. We are so thankful for the Hermantown Police Department, Hermantown Fire Department and the public for coming out today.”

It’s not too late for officials to give blood. There still are three more dates left.

Today, donations can be made at Skyline Lanes from 12:30-4:30 p.m. On Friday, North Shore Bank of Commerce (Hermantown Branch) will take

donations from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday donations can be at Fitchner Field (Ugstad Road and Maple Grove Road) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“The main thing is we want people to come out and give blood,” Crace said. “You never know, one day you may need blood, so it is good for everyone to help out.”