Bryan Gonzalez donates blood in Burbank

Bryan Gonzalez with Burbank Management Services donates blood at a Red Cross blood drive hosted by Burbank Police and Fire departments on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014 at the Burbank Community Services Building in the Community Room in Burbank. He said he saw Burbank police officers donating and thought it was a good idea to give back too. (Tim Berger / Staff Photographer / February 18, 2014)

Dozens of city employees and local residents donated blood Tuesday at a drive hosted by the Burbank Police Department and the American Red Cross.

The nonprofit collected more than 40 pints of blood from 38 donors at the "Battle of the Badges" drive, which includes a friendly competition among regional police and fire departments.

Winter storms on the East Coast, which have prevented the Red Cross from hosting blood drives there, have contributed to a blood shortage for the organization, said 18-year Red Cross technician Manny Aquino.

"It's an opportunity for whoever comes to help out other people," said Burbank Police Officer Joshua Kendrick, who helped organize the event. On Tuesday, he donated two pints of blood.

"You're going to be giving someone life," he said.

Donors said the process was a painless, convenient way to give back to the community.

"Blood's got a shelf life, it's constantly in need," said Burbank resident Tim Stevens, who has donated blood about 20 times.

And it's rewarding, donors said.

"If someone is dying on the operating table and they need three pints of blood, and one of them is mine, I'd feel good," said donor Blaze Patricio, who is a Burbank Water and Power electrician. "You can't make blood."

Patricio prepared to donate by staying hydrated and eating a full breakfast Tuesday morning.

Regular donor and city employee Penny Forbes appreciated the convenience of being able to frequent blood drives so close to work.

"Everybody should donate blood because it's desperately needed and it's easy," she said.

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Follow Alene Tchekmedyian on Google+ and on Twitter: @atchek.

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