ImageGover Harley-Davidson in Piqua hosted its annual mid-summer blood drive Saturday, July 20, drawing one if its strongest crowds, some crazy weather, and great support for the Community Blood Center (CBC) “King of the Road Summer Blood Drive.”  With the grand prize Harley-Davidson motorcycle parked next to the tandem of CBC Bloodmobiles, it was a case of “If you can’t bring the Road King to every blood drive, than bring the blood donors to the Road King.”

Gover is a partial sponsor of the “King of the Road Summer Blood Drive” along with REACH Magazine and W Productions in Urbana.  One lucky donor will win the Harley-Davidson Road King Classic motorcycle at the end of summer. Everyone who registers to donate with CBC from May 28 through Aug. 31 is automatically entered in the drawing for the Road King. (Must be 18 to win. Offical rules available at www.GivingBlood.org).

Donors who chose to ride their own motorcycles to the Gover blood drive were smart to come early. The skies were sunny all morning, but they opened up around noon with heavy rains and high winds that chased the Gover sidewalk sale inside and had the Gover flags flapping faster than a Harley at full throttle.

Even with the downpour, the blood donors were unflappable.  The blood drive registered 65, including an impressive 17 first-time donors, and collected 59 donations for 137 percent of the collection goal.  It equaled the previous highest donor registration by blood drive coordinator and Gover Operations Manager Greg Foughty.

Cassandra Ingle was among the crowd of first-time donors.  She graduated from Covington High School in the spring and will begin studying nursing at Wright State University in the fall.  “My friend Alex has given before and heard about the drive,” she said. “He said it’s a good thing to do.”

Her friend Alex Bitner is also a 2013 Covington graduate, and will be a pharmacy student at University of Cincinnati in the fall.  He made his first donation at Covington’s first-ever blood drive last November and his third at the Gover blood drive “My parents knew about it before me,” he said. “They’re into motorcycles. They have a Harley.”

Rachel Carter was another Covington graduate on the Bloodmobile Saturday, and she too made her third lifetime donation.   There’s also a love of motorcycles in her family.  “I’m trying to get one, when I have enough money,” she said.  “My dad and mom both ride and my brother just got a motorcycle too.”

Stacie Parks didn’t ride her Harley Street Glide to the blood drive Saturday, but she found out about the blood drive through the Gover newsletter.  When asked if she would like winning the Road King she smiled and said, “That would be alright!”   What is it that she likes about riding?  “Everything,” she said.  “The freedom.  The people that you meet.  It’s a community.”

Larry and Brandy Branson are part of that community, both as riders and donors.  They left their Harley at home as Larry came to make his second lifetime donation and Brandy her milestone 15th lifetime donation.  “My mom did it, and I went with her to donate once,” said, “Brandy. “I’ve tried to do it ever since.”

Larry bought his first motorcycle from Gover, and would love winning the Road King Classic.  “I hope so,” he said. “It would make my day.  That, and knowing that somebody can use my blood.”

One of the final donors of the drive was also one of the first-time donors, Gover dealership owner Tracy Gover.  “I tried before, but had low hematocrit,” she said.  As a girl who grew up on motorcycles, the test of a first-time donation did not make her nervous.  “Oh, this is no problem!” she said. “I told my daughter (11 year-old) Ella that I found out my blood type was A-negative when I was pregnant with her.  She said, ‘I thought you said it was better to get an A-plus!’”

Gover gets an “A-plus” for its strong support of blood donations and the CBC “King of the Road Summer Blood Drive.” Saturday proved to be a good day to visit the friendly family dealership and share in the community of motorcycle lovers and blood donors.

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