ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The 12th annual Rodney Holder Memorial Guns & Hoses Blood Drive began Tuesday and will run through Wednesday. As always, members of the Abilene’s fire and police departments say this year is proving to be a contentious one, because in the score keeping history of the drive they are tied 4 to 4.
“Let me tell you something right now, brother, the AFD’s coming for you, okay? It’s 4 to 4, baby. It’s neck and neck, and we’re coming for you,” Abilene Fire Department’s (AFD) firefighter, Caleb Fullerton warned in his best Macho Man Randy Savage voice.
Abilene Police Department’s (APD) Real Time Information Center Officer Eddy Hernandez told KTAB/KRBC, “We keep it very friendly and very cordial out on calls, but when it comes time for guns and hoses, it’s time to get competitive.”
Donors are given the option of siding with the police or the fire department upon donation and the winner gets their organization added as that year’s champion on the trophy. Of course, this is all in good fun. Fullerton and Hernandez explained the cause and memorial are the real reason for their excitement.
“It’s a great way to rally the community because everybody knows a firefighter, everybody knows a police officer,” Fullerton said.
The drive is held each year in honor and in memory of its namesake, Abilene Officer Rodney T. Holder, who died in the line of duty in 2010.
“Officer Holder meant a lot to us. He was a part of our traffic division, and he paid the ultimate price serving the community,” lamented Ofc. Hernandez.
There are few better ways to honor Officer Holder’s memory, according to Ofc. Hernandez, than to continue his life’s passion and help save the lives of the people he swore to protect.
This cause is one you can have a direct impact on by donating. Fullerton told KTAB/KRBC he has seen his donation make a difference right before his eyes.
“I was actually notified that my blood was used to save a life, and that was amazing,” Fullerton recalled.
If you happen to favor one department or the other, you can show your support by showing up and donating and letting them know who you’d like to back.
Donations will be accepted Tuesday, July 18 and Wednesday July 19 at the Hendrick Regional Blood Center located at 1701 Pine Street, and at the KTAB/KRBC studio at 4510 South 14th Street.