Coralville competes in blood drive competition

BY PAUL OSGERBY | JULY 24, 2014 5:00 AM

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Firefighters and police officers don’t always need trucks and cruisers to help the community.

Sometimes, they use a different vessel.

On Friday in the Coralville City Hall Council Chambers, 1512 Seventh St., the Coralville Fire and Police Departments will face off in a challenge to see which can donate the most blood in the first Battle of the Badges Blood Drive.

“There’s a good-natured rivalry that we have between the Fire and Police Departments,” said Coralville Police Chief Barry Bedford.

Employees and volunteers from each department can sign up and donate blood, and the public is also invited to attend. Donors can choose which community service faction they want to represent.

The event is also sponsored the UI Hospital and Clinic DeGowin Blood Center.

“It’s a great way to drum up support for both departments and the hospital,” said Heather Roman, the blood-drive coordinator at the DeGowin Center.

Roman said she hopes the project can collect 60 units.

All the units from the blood drive, she said, will stay in the Iowa City area for use in the UI Hospitals and Clinics.

“I’m really glad the Coralville fire and police could coordinate with us,” said UI spokesman Tom Moore. “This is something we’re pleased about doing.”

According to its webpage, the DeGowin Center collects approximately 600 units of blood and platelets a week.

Roman said the Coralville police has sponsored similar drives in the past. There are usually two to three blood drives held in the Coralville City Hall, Bedford said, and two officers in his department have been responsible for them.

However, this year the officers thought it would be fun to have a little friendly competition with the firefighters.

“We’re kind of new, doing it as a department [compared with the police],” said Coralville’s Assistant Fire Chief Orey Schweitzer.

Monday night, all of the volunteers had a meeting in the department, giving one last opportunity to pitch the event to Coralville firefighters.

Bedford said that he believes the firefighters might pull off the underdog win, despite being newer.

“But you never know,” he said. “We’re police officers. We’re there when we need to be, but also there when you don’t want us to be, like when we’re coming up in your rearview mirror to stop you.”

The winners of the inaugural event will get to take a traveling trophy home to their department.

Members of the public are invited to donate, and they can reserve a spot by calling either the Coralville police or the DeGowin Center. Email appointments are also available on the UI Hospital and Clinic’s website.

“We’re hoping to have some fun while saving lives,” Roman said.

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