Battle of Badges Blood Drive July 31

By Jason A. Smith
Times Correspondent

Local public-safety workers are getting ready to roll up their sleeves to help save lives.

The Henry County Police Department and the Sheriff’s Offiice are partnering with the American Red Cross for a Battle of the Badges Blood Drive, scheduled for July 31 from 10 a.m., to 3 p.m. Whichever department collects more pints of blood will earn the coveted Battle of the Badges Trophy.

Both agencies have competed for the trophy since July of 2009, said Sheriff’s Maj. Jack Oakman. He noted that the Sheriff’s Office won last year by collecting 43 pints, compared with 25 from the police department.

“It’s not so much a competition,” said Oakman. “It’s intended to stimulate people getting involved.”

Oakman said on the heels of last year’s results, the Red Cross has raised the stakes for both sides.

“They want us to collect at least 42 pints for the Sheriff’s Office and at least 37 for the police department,” he said. “It’s one way that we can give back to the community. During the summer, we see a lot of people getting into accidents, and needing blood.”

Oakman said in addition to lining up employees from the Sheriff’s Office for the blood drive, county workers, their friends and family typically participate in the blood drive as well.

Kristy Nix, administrative assistant in the police department’s Training Division, is heading up the blood drive for the officers there. She, too, has a strategy for getting more people to give blood in the competition.

“We try and encourage officers to donate, and with the fire department right next to us, we invite them to come over,” said Nix.

Still, she said both agencies can run into problems in securing enough donors for the contest, further underscoring the need for participation from local residents.

“Deputies and police officers have military experience and are ineligible to give blood for the remainder of their lives,” said Nix. “It’s an automatic disqualifier that the Red Cross does.”

Nix pointed out that her agency won the Battle of the Badges for two years straight, prior to the Sheriff’s Office’s win in 2016.

“It broke my heart when they came over and took our trophy last year,” said Nix with a laugh. “We have fun with and joke around about it. “The whole goal is to collect blood to save other people’s lives when it’s needed.”

Both agencies are headquartered in McDonough, with the Sheriff’s Office at 120 Henry Parkway, and Henry County Police at 110 S. Zack Hinton Parkway. Walk-ins are welcome for the battle.

To schedule a donation online or for more information, visit