Liberty County Sheriff Steve Sikes accepted an award Thursday for his office’s victory in the third round of the Battle of the Badges blood drive, which took place Aug. 22 at the district attorney’s office in Hinesville.
“This award really needs to go to all of us in (the sheriff’s office),” Sikes said. “Every time we have a blood drive, everybody wants to try to do their part, and I really appreciate that.”
Daniel Hines, donor recruiter for the American Red Cross’ coastal district, presented the award to Sikes.
Liberty County Human Resources Specialist Laura Troutman said she was very pleased with the 43 pints of blood collected at the drive, which was well above the 32-pint goal. Hines said that those 43 units were enough to potentially help 130 patients in need of blood.
Hines stressed the need for blood donations year-round.
“It’s always just as important to donate all the time,” he said. “The Red Cross is more of a proactive blood bank, so we like to have a supply on hand, because we’re a national blood-banking system. If they need blood in another region, we can ship it from our region to their region. So, it’s good to always have a standing inventory.”
Hines also explained that the 45-day shelf life of red blood cells necessitates a constant need for donations. He said that donors can make a whole-blood donation every 56 days.
Hines also expressed the need for minorities to donate blood as often as possible.
“There are certain antibodies that are specific to certain ethnic groups that could help an infant, could help a toddler,” he said. “We always encourage people, especially minorities, to give.”
Troutman asked Hines for tips for people who may have been turned away because of low iron levels.
“Lay off the caffeine,” Hines replied, explaining that even if a person is getting adequate iron in their diet, too much caffeine may inhibit the body from absorbing the iron. He also said that the Red Cross’ website, redcrossblood.org, contained more information regarding nutrition facts and methods for increasing iron intake.
The fourth and final round of the Battle of the Badges is scheduled for Dec. 19 at the Hinesville city hall. The county’s combined fire services are ahead in the overall standings, with 45 votes. The Sheriff’s office is in a close second, however, with 43 votes. Emergency medical services and the police force are vying for third place, with 25 and 24 votes, respectively.