ENGLEWOOD, Ohio – The Davenport family has new reasons to affirm “Bill would be so proud” of the blood drive honoring the former Englewood cop. With the June 27 Bill Davenport Memorial Blood Drive in the Englewood Government Center they celebrated 351 donors over its six-year history, and a new generation taking up the torch with Bill’s first grandchild old enough to donate in his memory.
“I wanted to do it in honor of my grandfather,” said Ashlyn England, a sophomore at Northmont High School. She became eligible to donate with parental permission when she turned 16 on June 8. Ashlyn made her first donation at Thursday’s blood drive with her mom Angela Davenport holding her hand. They switched roles later when Angela donated.
“Grandpa must be proud,” said Angela. Ashlyn was just 10 when the family hosted the first Bill Davenport Memorial Blood Drive with Community Blood Center in 2012. She grew up learning her grandfather was in a battle with blood cancer. “He was diagnosed two weeks after I had her,” said Angela.
Sgt. Bill Davenport dedicated nearly 38 years to Englewood law enforcement. He died in 2011 after a 10-year struggle with multiple myeloma, a cancer that attacks the plasma cells in the bone marrow.
Thursday’s blood drive totaled 57 donors and 48 donations for 100 percent of the collection goal. In six years the blood drive has totaled 351 donors and 290 donations.
“Time flies. I’m glad it’s still going on,” said Bill’s son Brett Davenport, a Kettering firefighter who serves as the blood drive coordinator.
The blood drive is a family effort. Brett recruits colleagues in the public safety community. Brett, brother Cory, and sister Angela are all donors. They ask businesses to contribute raffle prizes to support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Their mom Joann is the first to greet donors and encourage them to buy raffle tickets and this year’s bright green “Bill Davenport Memorial Blood Drive” t-shirt.
Ashlyn was one of six first-time donors at the sixth annual Bill Davenport Blood Drive, and for Brett she represents the future. “In 100 years it could be still going strong!” he said. “I think about who will take it on.” That would guarantee more generations of Davenports sharing the pride.