Dayton, OHIO – Dan Lange of St. Henry kept a stone-cold poker face to the very end. If he was excited, anxious or even hopeful, he never showed his hand. He was the only Top 10 Finalist in the Community Blood Center (CBC) Jeep Patriot drawing who refused to speculate about good fortune, insisting “I haven’t won anything yet”… until he did.
Lange was the first finalist to pick his envelope. He chose one from the middle of the pile. One by one, all 10 took an envelope until the table was empty, then waited for the countdown to rip them open. But only Lange’s held the “golden ticket” with the inscription “winner.” True to form, he was “Cool Hand Dan” up until the moment of truth.
“I wasn’t going to open it right away,” he said, still beaming with satisfaction. “I was going to let everyone else go first. They said nine of the envelopes would have a silver ticket, but mine was white. I pulled it out, and on the other side… it was gold. I said ‘Oh my goodness!’”
After a hug and kiss from his joyful wife Jody, Lange went back to his poker face, saying he would give the Jeep to his 21-year old son Dylan. But when he pressed, he broke a smile and said “No!” He then went down the line of finalists, shaking hands with everyone. Only Lange was the Jeep winner, but they all shared the bond of being blood donors.
Dr. David Smith, CEO of Community Blood Center/Community Tissue Services, welcomed the finalists to the Jeep Patriot Giveaway Event. He said the “Redefine the Meaning of Red, White and Blue” summer blood drive had benefitted from the Jeep drawing, with nearly 25,000 people registered to give blood and nearly 2100 first-time donors.
“I want to thank you for what you have done,” said Dr. Smith, “Not for us – we’re just the middle men – but for the people you have helped who need and depend on the gift of life. We thank you and all our CBC donors.”
Jeep winner Dan Lange credited his employer, Midmark, the health industry lighting company in Versailles, for holding blood drives, including the drive where he made the donation that entered him into the Jeep drawing.
“I really encourage everyone to donate blood,” Lange said. “It’s a great thing to do. I have children who donate blood, and where I work at Midmark we have blood drives. I encourage it.”
The other nine finalists went home with a $50 gasoline gift card as a consolation prize. When asked if he was disappointed, Bob Berger, the retired foundry worker with a rusting pickup, was philosophic. “Oh, it’s alright,” he said. “I’m a Ford man anyway!”
And like a poker player who finally gets to collect his pile of chips, “Cool Hand Dan” reflected on his win. “I’m kind of in shock,” he said. Then after a kidding from his wife about watching his blood pressure he admitted, “I need to, because I am definitely going to enjoy this.”
The “Redefine the Meaning of Red, White and Blue” summer blood drive was sponsored by Walker Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram in Centerville and REACH Magazine. Anyone who registered to donate blood between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend was automatically entered into the Jeep drawing.