RICHMOND, Indiana – The Richmond cops are not just locking up their dominance of the Community Blood Center “Cuffs & Ladders Blood Drive,” they’re throwing away the key! The Richmond Police and Fire Departments squared off in the 6th annual challenge blood drive Friday, June 8 in the City Council Chambers and the cops claimed victory for the fifth straight year.
The 28-10 margin of victory was a few votes closer than last year, but the RPD continued its dominance of this friendly competition to help save lives. The blood drive totaled 37 donors, including six first-time donors and 33 blood donations.
Fire Chief Jerry Purcell, who has blood lines on both sides of this battle of the badges, admitted crossing the line to vote for the police with his donation.
“It’s the first time I’ve voted for the police,” Chief Purcell said. “My son’s a police officer, and I also have one that’s a firefighter. Our departments get along. We love each other. Really, under this administration we’ve really built a tremendous relationship. It was always good, but especially now.”
The police drew strong support from city employees who have long supported the blood drives at City Hall. “I have a friend on the fire department, but last year I voted for police,” said Scott Alexander from Richmond Infrastructure and Development. “I try to spread my loyalties.”
But City Clerk Karen Chasteen said her loyalties have remained with the firefighters ever since her grandmother’s antique lamp, an heirloom from the 1920’s, started the fire that burned down her home.
“I hate to pick one over the other, I love all these guys,” said Karen. “But the fire department, I’ve seen them in action when my house burned. I’ve seen them at work and they’re a class act.”
It was fitting that the final donation and final vote of the day came from RPD Officer Aly Tonuc. “We try to recruit people,” Aly said after she finished donating and held the “Cuffs & Ladders” trophy. “A lot of the guys are scared of needles. We say, ‘C’mon! It’s one little stick!’”
With the help of that team spirit the cops stuck it to their rivals once again. But blood drive coordinator Diane Whitehead called it a win for everyone. She annually recruits her mom and four sisters to donate, including her sister Sarah DiGenova who donated on her birthday.
“I think we had a good turn-out,” said Diane. “The voting is fun. But I don’t really care how it turns out as long as they come and give blood!”