AUSTIN -- "We Are Blood's" 11th annual Battle of the Badges blood drive ended Saturday.
Every year, Austin's police, fire and EMS departments go up against each other in a friendly competition to see who can recruit more blood donors. Donors also receive a limited edition Battle of the Badges t-shirt.
Donors cast their vote upon checking in. Organizers spoke with KVUE to talk about why it is more than just a friendly competition.
"Every time you come in, it's a great thing. This just helps up the supply," said Tina Johnson, a phlebotomist of almost 10 years at We Are Blood.
"You get people that wouldn't ordinarily donate and once they're here, we can give em a great experience and they can become regular donors after that," said Johnson.
"I've had a lot of friends of mine who are first responders. Some of my closest friends are first responders and anything I can do to help support them as well. It's always nice," said Tony Walker, a blood donor.
Officials with the organization said more than 500 people come in and vote while they donate.
"It is an opportunity for people to give back, to show some recognition for those first responders, and for them to sort of be a responder for their community," said Rob Hill, Community Outreach Manager at We Are Blood.
"On a day-to-day basis, they're out there and they see that anybody regardless of age or what part of town you live in, whatever you do, might very well be in need of blood," said Hill.
The winners of the drive will be announced live Tuesday July 10 at 11 a.m. on KVUE.
To learn more about We Are Blood and how to donate, click here.