Police, fire departments earn award for successful blood drive

Published 9:44 am Monday, February 22, 2016

The Vicksburg police and fire departments were recently honored for coming together with other local agencies for a cause.

The Vicksburg Police Department and the Vicksburg Fire Department received an award for being the 2015 First Responder Group of the Year at the Mississippi Blood Services Annual Meeting in January for their participation in the Battle of the Badges 2015 Blood Drive. The award was given to the group that donated the most units of blood during their blood drives.

“I thought it was a very successful blood drive,” Deputy Fire Chief Craig Danczyk said.

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VPD Deputy Chief Bobby Stewart said they raised 99 units of blood on July 14, the day of the initial drive. When people donated, they specified if they were giving for police or fire. Danczyk said the drive was so packed, people had to make appointments to give blood and a second donation day was planned.

“We had so much participation that they had to come back because they couldn’t get everybody in one day,” Danczyk said.

The two city agencies and their families partnered with the Warren County Sheriff’s Office and the county volunteer fire departments for the blood drive along with their families.

“We had four groups and our family members,” Danczyk said.

Police and fire departments from Flowood, Ridgeland, Pearl and Brandon competed against each other in central Mississippi Battle of the Badges for the First Responder Group of the Year award that Vicksburg won. Danczyk said he hopes to see as much participation in this year’s battle.

The departments setup the blood drive to participate in the competition and to support local VPD officer Burt Ryan in his fight with a type of lymphoma that requires frequent blood transfusions.

“We incorporated two drives into one,” Stewart said.

Two more blood drives were planned last year, Stewart said, at Wal-Mart and the Elks Lodge that did not count towards the battle but were for Ryan specifically.

“He was in need of blood to keep up his blood count up so he could keep undergoing his treatments,” Stewart said.

Stewart encouraged the community to continually give blood.

“The fire department and the police department care about the members of our community,” Stewart said. “We just want to encourage everyone when they get a chance to give blood.”