By Jeri Pearson
The return of the annual Boots and Badges Blood Drive has been announced, with the date set for Thursday and Friday June 24 and 25 from noon until 6 p.m. both days, the competition is preparing to draw blood.
At Mena City Council’s June meeting, the friendly banter began with both chiefs presenting appeals to the council to donate for their departments.
Mena Fire Chief Steve Egger encouraged the council to donate blood towards Boots.
“We got a good thing going here (blood drive),” he said. “It gets a lot of interest and turn out. So, get your friends and family out and tell them to come support the thick red line.”
Mena Police Chief Tommy Stuart did not let the request for support go unnoticed.
“I, myself, will donate for the Boots this year, so we can have a little closer contest,” Stuart taunted.
Mena’s police and fire departments were joined last week at the donation site, First Baptist Church in Mena, for a pre-game show-down with Polk County Sheriff’s Office and Southwest EMS.
Sheriff Scott Sawyer said the annual event is always a good time and provides ample opportunity to poke fun at one another.
Pulse reporter Jeri Pearson observed the temperature increase by at least 5 degrees in the sweltering heat as jovial trash talking released a significant amount of hot air among the first responders.
Thankfully Southwest EMS crews were ready to provide assistance to the hot heads who are sure to suffer heat stroke if their side fails to get the most donations.
Last year 226 potential donors signed up for the Boots and Badges Blood Drive and 209 successful donations were made, which shattered the 139 donations made in 2019.
However, Badges were only narrowly able to hang on to bragging rights, with 114 donations to the Boots’ 112.
“This was the closest Boots & Badges competition we have seen in any of our Boots and Badges Blood Drives, and the largest in our area that includes Fort Smith, Russellville, Van Buren, Clarksville to name a few,” Danny Cerantes, Arkansas Blood Institute Recruitment Manager, said last year.
NEED TO KNOW
WHAT: Boots and Badges Blood Drive
WHEN: Thursday, June 24 from noon- 6p.m. AND Friday, June 25 from noon- 6 p.m.
WHERE: Mena First Baptist Church Fellowship Hall
To schedule an appointment: Call Ronika at 479-652-2364
AND: Be sure to make your donation to BOOTS or BADGES