Elser, from Tipp City, was one of the 25,681 people who entered the “iFocus on Saving Lives” summer blood drive campaign by registering to donate blood with CBC between May 29 and Sept. 1. “I never win anything,” he said. “I won a baseball in a pie-eating contest when I was boy growing up in Northwest Ohio. I don’t play the lottery. I was surprised to even be a finalist.”
Even when he opened the envelope, Norman thought he had struck out. “I opened it up and saw the back of the ticket, which is white,” he said. “I didn’t think that I won until I turned it over and it was gold. I couldn’t believe it!”
His wife Cindy, on the other hand, was counting on it. “Norman’s car is a 2002 with 212,000 miles on it, and he told me he wanted to replace it” she said. “I said, Norman, you are not buying a car. We’re not going to have a car payment. I must have had an inspiration!”
Norman, age 69, is retired from the FAA inflight service station at the Dayton Airport and served as a volunteer with Honor Flight. He’s a Navy veteran from the Vietnam era and a life-long blood donor who entered the drawing at the Troy Church of the Brethren CBC blood drive in August.
In welcoming remarks to all the finalists, Community Blood Center/Community Tissue Services Chief Executive Officer Dr. David Smith said, “The iFocus on Saving Lives” blood drive reached 101 percent of its goal, which is impressive during the summer months. This is a small way of saying thank you. We couldn’t accomplish our mission of saving lives without you.”
The nine silver ticket finalists each received a $50 gas card.
The “iFocus on Saving Lives” Ford Focus giveaway campaign was sponsored by Dave Knapp Ford Lincoln in Greenville and REACH Magazine. Dave Knapp shook hands with Norman and told him that if his “Race Red” Focus with the big yellow bow ever needs care, come see him in Greenville. “I always wanted a car with a big bow on it,” said Cindy. “It’s like Christmas!”