Many heroes in quest to collect donations.

The American Red Cross works year-round on enlisting help with blood drives.

Part of that mission involves making the process of donating blood more appealing — offering gifts to donors, for example.

Competition also has a way of encouraging more people to participate.

Such will be the situation next Monday and Tuesday with the Red Cross Battle of the Badges Blood Drive, as local law enforcement, firefighters, sheriff's office and Emergency Medical Service (EMS) workers face off to see who can give the most blood and recruit the most donors.

Of course, the "battle" isn't just for the community's emergency responders. The hope is people from all walks of life show up to make a life-saving blood donation, and in doing so help address the ongoing challenge of ensuring an ample blood supply available to people in the region.

It's never easy to maintain a sufficient supply of blood here and beyond.¬ Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood, according to the Red Cross. Recipients may be cancer patients, organ transplant recipients or someone injured in an accident.

The problem is that despite the efforts of regular blood donors, shortages are common because the supply barely covers the demand. During such critical times during the year when accidents are more common, blood availability in the region that serves Kansas may dip to a half-day supply or below.

Far more help is needed from those willing and able to give.

One opportunity would be in the community "Battle of the Badges" blood drive from 2 to 7 p.m. Monday and Aug. 28, at the Church of the Nazarene, 2720 N. Campus Drive. Those not able to participate will have other opportunities in local community blood drives planned throughout the year.

When this particular blood drive ends, the winner of the "Battle of the Badges" competition will earn bragging rights and a plaque as part of their latest effort to save lives.

They won't be the only heroes, though. Everyone who gives blood earns the same bragging rights, and deserves enthusiastic praise for helping others in need.