BEAVERCREEK, Ohio – Call it a competition so close, it was good to the last blood drop. A late flurry of firefighter-friendly votes avoided a deadlock and gave the Beavercreek Township Fire Department another victory in the fifth annual Beavercreek Battle of the Badges Blood Drive Aug. 6 at Peace Lutheran Church.
The final three donors of the blood drive checked “Fire” on their ballots before dropping them into the fire hydrant cookie jar that serves as the ballot box. It helped the firefighters edge their rivals 47-43, the closest finish since the Beavercreek Police Department’s only victory in 2016. It was the firefighter’s fourth win in five years.
“It makes it kind of fun!” Pat Cochran said about the close vote. Pat organizes the Battle of the Badges with BTFD Auxiliary volunteers and Peace Lutheran Church blood drive coordinator Dan Jessup. She was happier about the strong turn-out of donors than scoring another win for the fire department.
Their blood drive challenge helped Community Blood Center register 97 donors, including 85 donations and nine first-time donors to reach 101 percent of the collection goal.
“It gives us an opportunity to talk about it. That’s the biggest thing,” said BTFD Chief David Vandenbos who is a regular donor at the Battle of the Badges. “If anything, it gives people a reason to come out. I fall into that category!”
“It’s a great community event to get people out,” said BPD Community Engagement Officer Mark Brown, who greeted donors and colleagues before making his own donation.
“Not only is it a friendly competition with us, but the whole community wins because we get people out and giving blood. It really is a good thing for us to interact with our community, making friends, making contacts in community and getting to know our citizens basically by interacting with them.”
Donors conversed in the Donor Café, eating cookies, donuts and firehouse chili from the BTFD’s annual chili cook-off. “It’s my mother-in-law’s recipe,” said contest winner Alex Ferguson. “It tastes like Skyline, so it’s something different.”
For the donors, the vote is always a tough choice. Several donors checked both “Fire” and “Police” on their ballots. One donor voted for the firefighters and wrote on the ballot, “Saved my house from burning down… Beavercreek Police are nice!”
“I’ve got a brother who is a retired Dayton firefighter and now his son is a firefighter,” said Beavercreek’s Carol Gentry who made her milestone 100th lifetime donation Monday. “I’ve got to go with family.”
“Fire” was an easy choice as well for Beavercreek mom Jaime Jones, who donated with her 10-year old daughter Jordan at her side. “I’m with the fire department because they can’t give me speeding tickets!” she said. “Once is enough!”
BTFD Battalion Chief Dave Young summed it up after chatting over chili with Deputy Chief Scott Dorsten, and visiting Officer Mark Brown as he donated. “It’s a good competition, and it’s good for the blood drive.”