Dewey officers, firefighters donate blood during OBI 'Guns n' Hoses Blood Drive'

DEWEY, Okla. - Dewey police and firefighters battled into the evening hours Tuesday at the Washington County Fairgrounds in a struggle to see which group was going to donate the most blood.

The result of the "Dewey Community Guns 'n Hoses Blood Drive," as one might imagine, was quite bloody, according to Oklahoma Blood Institute recruiter David Olsen.

"It was a very strong, great, great turnout," Olsen told 2NEWS, saying the OBI had originally had a goal of 20 blood donors. "In the first hour, we already had 23 signed up – exceeding expectations."

Considering the drive had two hours yet to go, he estimated the organization would likely walk away with blood from at least 30 donors.

"That is 30 pints and each pint saves three lives, so that is 90 lives saved," he said.

The Guns 'n Hoses drive, Olsen said, is a event held in communities throughout the state which gives police and firefighters a chance for "a little friendly competition" while at the same time increasing awareness about the importance of giving blood.

"Especially in the summertime," he said, saying summer is very difficult on the OBI as nearly 35 percent of its blood supply comes from schools and universities. As students are on break then, the supply tends to take a break as well. Demand however goes up as the number of accidents increase due to a rise in traveling and outdoor activities.

The drive is to give communities and the OBI a way to counteract that shortage.

"It is just a community event where we want fire and police to bring in their families and friends."

Dewey Fire Department Chief Dale Little who gave blood Tuesday told 2NEWS he and the police chief accepted the invitation to participate in the drive when first contacted by the OBI.

"If it's something to help the community, we are in," he said, saying OBI is a "first-class organization."

Little said he knew many of his men participated Tuesday.

When 2NEWS visited the site Tuesday, Dewey Police Investigator Tim Stringer was reclined in a chair — a tube from his arm feeding a machine positioned in front of him.

"You never can tell when somebody in the community might need blood, so this is a way to help," he told 2NEWS, explaining why he decided to give blood.

Summing up what many firefighters and police officers would have said at the drive, that not only do they lay down their lives daily for those they serve, but "We bleed for our community," he said.

Olsen told 2NEWS the OBI hopes to make "Guns 'n Hoses" an annual event and perhaps will one day award a traveling trophy to the police or fire department that gives the most blood.

On Wednesday morning, updating 2NEWS with the results of Tuesday's drive said Dewey had a total of 34 donors and that the fire department won the competition with 23 donors.

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