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Forty-one give blood at 'Battle of Badges' drive
A healthy number of blood donors turned out Monday for the Battle of the Badges Blood Drive at the Ceres Community Center. The event was hosted by the Ceres Department of Public Safety/Code Enforcement Division and Delta Blood Bank.

Donations of blood started at 11 a.m. and ended at 3:30 p.m.

According to Lisbeth Garcia, Delta's blood drive coordinator, the Ceres drive attracted 47 persons, 41 of whom were able to donate a pint each at six tables.

"Fifteen were first-time donors so it was good," said Garcia. "We collected 32 at last year's event."

Those who were unable to donate had issues with irons, she added..

The effort attracted a lot of city staff members, including recreation coordinator Traci Farris.

"I hate needles but I can handle it," she said. "I mean, we all have to do our part, right?"

Farris said she has the universal blood type O negative which can be used by any person with any blood type.

Close by lying on tables and giving blood were Cheryl Carpenter, Carissa Higginbotham and Syndi McLeland, all city of Ceres employees.

Del Ambris, store manager of Cost Less Foods, waited his turn in line and noted that he tried to encourage his employees to give blood, saying the reward was the good feelings one gets from helping out others.

Participants were rewarded with certificates for free drinks at Starbucks or food items from McDonalds.

Delta Blood Bank supplies an estimated 2000 blood units per day in the five hospital serving Stanislaus County, said Garcia.

The Ceres office of Delta, located at 2517 Mitchell Road, Suite F, is open Fridays from 1 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. All donors must have a photo I.D. and be healthy to donate blood. Giving blood takes between 45 minutes to an hour, said Garcia.

This year's donations will be credited to former Modesto California Highway Patrol officer Suerita Salas, 33, of Oceanside, who has adenocarcinoma. All donations will help offset the cost of treatment for her and will help to build the local blood supply. The event is in support of all police officers, firefighters, EMT/paramedics, community service officers and code enforcement officers who service our communities.