BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — This week is the 16th Annual Bismarck Battle of the Badges blood drive.

The three-day competition, at the Kirkwood Mall, involves area law enforcement and firefighters battling it out to recruit the most donors.

Red blood cells deliver oxygen to your organs and tissues.

Donated red blood cells are typically given to people with severe blood loss, such as after an injury or accident, and people with sickle cell anemia.

This week is the 16th Annual Bismarck Battle of the Badges blood drive.

We spoke with a retired Bismarck Fire Marshal, just as he wrapped up donating some of his red blood cells. He says he has been donating for years.

“It feels great I’ve done this 154 times,” said Ron Kunda, retired Bismarck Fire Marshal.  

Technician Kristen Nelson says that blood is needed now more than ever. Not only here, but worldwide.

She says the goal is to always get at least 100 or more donors to come in over the three-day event.

“Oh my gosh, it’s the best feeling in the world working with so many different people and working with the literal life source of the human body. It’s an indescribable experience,“ said Nelson.

Last but not least, we spoke with Bismarck’s Community Engagement Officer, Caitlyn Horne, who says she loves giving back to her community in any way possible.

But the Battle of the Badges blood drive holds a special place in her heart.

“It is a great feeling personally to me. My father just had a heart transplant, and he needed a blood transfusion for the heart transplant. Obviously, just in case things went south, and I did have a friend unfortunately who passed away from cancer and she also had multiple blood transfusions. You don’t really understand that your blood is so precious to somebody. Just one donation of blood from anybody can potentially help up to 97 premature babies. And so, being able to say that your blood is special even though you don’t know who it’s going to be saving. It’s special,” shared Officer Horne.

Officer Horne says so far the Bismarck Law enforcement team is taking the lead.