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Rutland police, fire chiefs issue blood drive challenge

Police and firefighters must often deal with the aftermath of accidents and bloodshed - so Rutland's police and fire chiefs are challenging others to help address the resulting need by participating in the 2012 Gift-of-Life Marathon Blood Drive.

"Sadly, we deal with life's emergencies every day, and we understand the importance of a safe and stable blood supply," Police Chief James Baker said. "Through the Gift-of-Life Marathon, we want to help ensure that supply is there through the upcoming holidays, and help Rutland get into the national record books in the process."

On Monday, Nov. 12, Baker and Fire Chief Robert Schlachter issued a challenge to their departments and all emergency and public safety personnel in Rutland County: sign up for the Dec. 18 blood drive, and serve as an example for the community at large.
"Few people, other than doctors and nurses, are more aware of the importance of blood donations than police officers and firefighters," Schlachter said. "So it's natural for us to donate blood and help spread the word about blood donations."

"Local police officers and firefighters are heroes in our society, but almost anyone can be a hero by following their lead and donating blood," said Steve Costello, vice president for generation and energy innovation at Green Mountain Power, one of the organizers. "Most of us will probably never have the opportunity to save a life like a firefighter or policeman, but by donating blood, we can have the same kind of life-changing impact."

Schlachter and Baker said they would encourage all eligible members of their departments to donate blood at the GOLM, which is attempting to break the one-day national blood drive record of 1,968 pints, and encouraged other departments across the county to do the same.

"It's amazing to me that Rutland has already held the second-largest blood drive in U.S. history, and I think it would be a tremendous boost to the community to break the record," Baker said.  "I've come to believe in Rutland, and I think the record might help the community believe in itself a little more."

WJJR Program Manager Terry Jaye, one of Rutland's greatest cheerleaders and co-organizer of the GOLM, agreed. "This community has rallied around cause after cause over the years, and I think Rutland deserves this," Jaye said.  "Breaking the national record would speak volumes about the people of this area."

For an appointment for the Dec. 18 event, which is strongly suggested, call 800-RED-CROSS or visit www.giftoflifemarathon.com. Potential donors are encouraged to visit www.redcrossblood.org for eligibility requirements.  For regular updates on the Gift-of-Life Marathon visit www.giftoflifemarathon.com.