Sunday, October 1, 2023

“Battle of the Branches” Blood Drive honors 9/11


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Story by Stephanie Hall and Jordan Reining | Contributing Writers

Photos by Reggie Johnson | Photographer

Middle Tennessee State University hosted its annual “Battle of the Branches” blood drive with the American Red Cross to honor of 9/11.

The “Battle of the Branches” was organized on Sept. 6 with the spirit of competition in mind to bring in more donors, according to Hilary Miller, the Director of the Daniels Veterans and Military Family center.

The winning branch is announced at the Veteran’s Day football game each year. In 2021, the winner was the Air Force, however, for many years the winner was the Army. 

“It’s a good, selfless thing to do to help others,” Arlin Wilshire, a professor of military science for the ROTC, said.

Wilshire, having donated many times before, was rooting for the Army to win the competition. 

The event lasted from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with a total of 57 units collected. The blood drive reached 95% of its goal.

For student Dalton Lewis, he has A+ blood and knows the importance of donating blood. He donated before through the student recreation center. 

“It could help save lives. So (it’s) not really that strenuous,” Lewis said. 

Among the donors were student volunteers. Taylor Sliger, a public health minor, volunteered through her Intro to public health class.

“(I hope) people will help out in the best way they can,” Sliger said. 

Originally, the blood drive was hosted in the spring, and was moved to the fall to correspond with the 9/11 memorial events on campus. MTSU hosts a 9/11 remembrance ceremony each year, along with a flag placement event to honor each life lost. 

Miller hopes that the blood drive will bring attention to both the military and those that died during 9/11.

To contact Lifestyles Editor Ethan Pickering, email

For more news, visit, or follow us on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines or on Twitter at @Sidelines_News 

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