BEAVERCREEK, Ohio – The Beavercreek Township firefighters beat the police by 19 votes in the fourth annual “Battle of the Badges Blood Drive” Monday, Aug. 28 at Peace Lutheran Church. But when it came down to the joy of helping others, one vote proved more valuable than the rest.
An anonymous donor added a simple message to her ballot. She voted for the firefighters and wrote, “Thank you BFD for saving my son’s life.”
“There were tears involved when we saw this,” said Pat Cochran, who organized the Battle of the Badges with BTFD Auxiliary volunteers and Peace Lutheran Church blood drive coordinator Dan Jessup. She said it was also gratifying to hear donors talk about their blood donations to Community Blood Center being sent to Texas to help with the Hurricane Harvey relief effort.
“We got it back!” said Pat. “This is so worth the effort. Some of the blood collected today will be processed and sent to Texas. What good timing this is. This is the America I know. The one where we have one another’s back.”
The Battle of the Badges totaled 101 donors, including 13 first-time donors and 88 blood donations for 110 percent of the collection goal. “I’m very pleased,” said Dan Jessup. “More than 100 donors is not a bad day!”
The firefighters revenged last year’s loss by a 52-33 vote count. After making his donation Monday Chief David Vandenbos predicted the outcome. “You can quote me, the fire department won! That’s how confident I am.”
“I do this every year,” said Beavercreek donor Deniece Chin. “Last year I voted for the fire department, so this year I’ll voter for the police. I’m just a happy resident of Beavercreek, so happy they have this.”
“I think about the people (flood victims) in Houston, they’re going to need blood,” said donor Teresa Zubeck. “It’s so easy to do, it doesn’t hurt. We have a great fire department and police department. If I could I’d vote for two of them.”
Chief Vandenbos’ wife Toni is an auxiliary member and also donated Monday. She joined the volunteers in serving chili made by Beavercreek Township Chili Contest winner Jan Shultz to the donors. Donor Sue Kirby sat beside police and fire supporters at the Donor Café and said, “It’s hard to decide, I’ve got one on either side!”
Beavercreek Police Officer Joel Diaz was able to take time from his patrol schedule to donate. His vote was one of the last of the day. It wasn’t enough to help the police defend the “Battle of Badges” title, but he had no regrets about the outcome.
“They’re good guys,” he said of his friendly rivals at BTFD. “We go at each other, but at the end of the day we love each other, whether they admit it or not!”