By Linda Looney-Bond
Blood drives held at the Clayton County Police Department and the Clayton County Sheriff's Office Tuesday set a record for the county, according to the American Red Cross.
The two blood drives netted a combined 86 pints of blood, according to Terrill Cooper, spokesperson for the American Red Cross Southern Blood Services Region.
"That's the most we've collected in one day, ever, with the Clayton County government," said Cooper.
Cooper said the 86 pints collected during the Clayton County "Badges for Life" blood drive could potentially save 258 lives. "Each pint can save three lives," she said.
Members of the two law enforcement agencies, other county employees, and all Clayton County residents were urged to turn out and give blood Tuesday.
The "Badges for Life" blood drive was also a competition in which the police department and sheriff's office squared off to see which could raise the largest number of blood donations.
"The police department won by two pints," said Cooper.
The police department blood drive collected 44 pints of blood, and the sheriff's department drive collected 42 pints, Cooper said.
"It's all in good fun," said Clayton County Police Chief Jeff Turner.
"It's important that people get out and support these blood drives. I support the Red Cross wholeheartedly as does the sheriff," said Turner, who rolled up his sleeve and gave blood during the drive.
"Giving blood is giving the gift of life," said Clayton County Sheriff Kem Kimbrough. "We want to try to make sure that as we strive to protect Clayton County citizens, this is just one more way to do that," he said.
Clayton County Sheriff's Deputy Nerissa Edwards said she gave blood Tuesday because of two family members.
"My father and my brother have received blood in the past two years. My father had cancer, and my brother was in a severe motorcycle accident," Edwards said. She said her father and brother are alive and well today, in part, thanks to blood donations.
"I feel that someone gave blood to save their lives. I should give blood to save someone else's life," Edwards said.
To be eligible to donate blood, donors must be at least 17 years of age, or 16 years old with a signed Red Cross parental/guardian consent form, weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good general health.
For more information about donating blood through the Red Cross, visit www.givelife.org or call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE.