MINOT, N.D. (KXNET) — A friendly competition is happening among Minot’s first responders. The city is having a Battle of the Badges blood drive this week to help fill our state’s blood bank.

“Going into the long weekend, this blood drive is very, very important,” says Vitalant’s Northwestern ND Account Manager Teresa Johnson. “It’s positioned before the long weekend. We find that the start of the long weekend is actually when our decrease in donors begins across the state.”

The annual Minot Battle of the Badges is going on from May 22 through May 25 at the Sleep Inn & Suites. When people donate blood, they can give their vote to Team Law or Team Fire. As of Wednesday afternoon, Team Law is still in the lead.

“It’s a fun competition between Team Law and Team Fire,” Johnson explains, “but you also have to remember that when you call 911, those first responders on the scene are the fire department and of course the police department. They’re the ones that see the impact of blood donations.”

At the beginning of the day on Wednesday, Johnson says the blood drive was 60 units of blood behind schedule — meaning that donations on Wednesday and Thursday are crucial. If someone donates, they will get a free 2023 Battle of the Badges t-shirt and a $20 Amazon gift card. They will also be entered into a $5,000 vacation giveaway. Johnson says this blood drive serves as a way to reduce the blood shortage, and also to thank first responders.

“This is a great opportunity to include other people in the community,” she explains. “To come out to support Team Law or Team Fire. Give them a pat on the back and tell them, ‘We’re here to support you just as you are here to support us. And we thank you for your service to the community.’ Not only that, it’s really fun for those people who don’t have a chance to come in to donate blood.”

As for why people donate, the reason is quite simple — they want to help save lives.

“I donate every year for Battle of the Badges,” said Team Law donator Travis Preskey, who donated for Team Law. “Well, it helps a lot of people in all different types of ways.”

“To help save lives and to help save babies,” said Team Fire donator Doris Hoffarth.

If you are unable to donate, Johnson says you can still help by spreading the word and showing support.

Thursday is the last day to donate blood. Appointments are encouraged, but walk-ins are also welcome. If you would like to host a blood drive, you can contact Vitalant online, or contact Teresa Johnson at 701-609-4110.