Sioux Falls, S.D. (KELO-AM) - Sioux Falls Fire Rescue was officially recognized today as this year's winner of the "Heroes Behind the Badges" blood drive. The annual drive is a friendly competition between Sioux Falls Police and Sioux Falls Fire Rescue to see who can recruit the most blood donors over the holidays.
This year's drive raised 748 total units to boost the winter blood supply. Each unit can benefit up to three patients, meaning as many as 2244 patients could be served by this year's collection.
Sioux Falls Fire Rescue led the effort with 435 donations. Sioux Falls Police recruited 313 donors. Sioux Falls Police Chief Doug Barthel presented the traveling trophy to Fire Chief Jim Sideras during a luncheon today at Texas Roadhouse.
In honor of their blood collection efforts, Citibank provides money for each department to donate to the charity of their choice. Firefighters presented Children's Home Society with a $350 check. Sioux Falls Police made a $150 donation to Special Olympics of South Dakota.
"This is a great competition held during the holidays every year," said Ken Versteeg, Executive Director of Community Blood Bank. "We have been doing this for 18 years and the first year we got 70 units of blood. Though there is some ribbing going on, everyone realizes it's for the good of the community."