That’s what police and firefighters said during the Sept. 11 Boots and Badges blood drive at the Police, Fire and 911 Training Center on West Second Avenue in Eugene. (Click here to watch a Eugene Police video about the event.)
“There’s certainly a little friendly competition between police and firefighters,” said Eugene-Springfield Fire Capt. Mike Barnebey, who was competing with Central Lane 911 dispatcher Ali Anderson to see who could donate a pint fastest. (Five minutes for Barnebey; six for Anderson.)
But it’s not all fun and games — especially on a day as solemn as Sept. 11, which Eugene police officer and blood drive coordinator Matthew Grose selected intentionally.
“It’s a quick and easy way to help people in need,” Grose said.
“We see the dire need in the community for these blood draws,” Barnebey agreed. Donating blood “is almost an extension of our mission to protect the community.”
Donated blood can help save the lives of people injured in all kinds of trauma — car wrecks, industrial accidents and violent crimes such as shootings, stabbings and assaults. Police and firefighter-paramedics see its value every day.
“We work 911, so we know it’s necessary,” Central Lane 911 dispatcher Stephen King said. “People don’t know about how many trauma events happen in this area, and it’s a lot.”
Eugene police officer John Jensen hadn’t donated since 1999, but he gave blood during Boots and Badges. “My 4-month-old son recently had surgery and needed a blood transfusion, so I decided to give back,” he said.
Deputy Fire Chief Randy DeWitt is a regular donor. The Boots and Badges drive brought out his competitive side, and the fact that it was Sept. 11 made the timing special. Earlier that day, more than 20 Eugene-Springfield firefighters climbed 110 flights of stairs at Eugene’s Ya-Po-Ha Terrace in honor of those who died in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. “I do recognize the service Lane Blood Center provides and the definite community need,” he said.
His son, Derek DeWitt, a Eugene police officer, donated as well. “So my donation canceled out your donation?” Derek joked when he encountered his father at the drive.
Derek needn’t have worried. The police officers won 27 to 13.
Join Lane County’s wonderful service people to help save lives while honoring the lives that were lost on Sept. 11. Giving blood is easy, takes only 45 minutes and can save up to three lives.
To be eligible to donate you must be at least 16 years of age, weigh at least 110 lbs., be in general good health and have eaten a meal with protein within four hours of your donation.
Call 541-484-9111 to make an appointment, or visit www.laneblood.org to schedule online.