HUBER HEIGHTS — The firefighters rolled out the big trucks, but the cops rolled up more sleeves, and that was the difference in the Huber Heights Battle of the Badges Blood Drive Friday, July 30 at American Family Insurance.
Everyone who registered to donate could cast a ballot for the city’s police or fire departments. The Huber Heights Police walked away with a convincing 26-4 decision. The big winner was the area blood supply with the blood drive totaling 34 registrations, including 15 first-time donors, and 25 blood donations for 104 percent of the collection goal.
“Our church has a blood drive,” said blood drive sponsor Tyrone Collier, owner of American Family Insurance in Huber Heights. “I’ve been wanting to do this for a while, to reach out to the community with something needed.”
The AFI parking lot became the site of a “mini festival” Friday, with the Community Blood Center Bloodmobile parked alongside two Huber Heights fire engines and a patrol car. AFI provided special refreshments and a tent with free custom t-shirts and gifts, plus vendor tents with more food and merchandise.
Adding the “Battle of the Badges” challenge to create awareness and help recruit donors came from AFI employee Erica Tyree, who is married Huber Heights Police Officer Larry Tyree.
“We really wanted to send the message about protecting a life, and saving a life through blood donations,” said Erica. “With everything that’s happened lately, if anything where to happen to them, we want to make sure there is blood for them too. It’s to make the community aware, not just for them, but for everyone.”
Erica counts herself as someone who owes her life to blood donors. She received three units of blood after the birth of her daughter Sophia. “In surgery I had to have a transfusion,” she said, “so it can happen to everybody.” Sophia celebrated her 10th birthday in July.
Alexis Soper, a nurse at Miami Valley Hospital, cast a vote Friday with her donation. “I’m here for the blood drive,” she said, “but I voted for the firefighters today. I’m a nurse, and they’re in the medical field.”
Michael Wall, a 10-year veteran of the Huber Heights Fire Department, made his first lifetime donation at Friday’s blood drive. “My wife has donated a few times,” he said. “This being a competition today motivated me. It’s a good thing to do to help people.”
Michael admitted that losing the competition would probably mean putting up with some trash talking from the victorious police department. Even family loyalty was put to the test. After completing his donation he found his seven-year-old son Colton posing for pictures with McGruff the Crime Dog.