Community Blood Center Bloodmobiles hit the road for the 35th annual National Night Out on Aug. 7 as Huber Heights and Miami Township added blood drives to community celebrations dedicated to the theme of neighbors watching out for neighbors.
It was the second year the Huber Heights Police Department sponsored a Night Out Blood Drive at Wayne High School and the first year for Miami Township Police at the Austin Landing celebration.
“I came to Night Out last year,” said Miami Township donor Angie Hall, who boarded the Bloodmobile with her 11-year old son Roger. “I thought it was awesome. I was like, O.K. I have to sign up for this!” Roger starts sixth grade on Wednesday, so the Night Out festivities served as their farewell to summer break.
Organizers worried that a forecast of heavy thunderstorms might turn Night Out into a wash out. But skies remained clear and crowds gathered for an evening of food, games, public safety displays and a skydiver landing.
“The whole point of National Night Out is community engagement and what better way to engage in the community than to make that blood donation, because you’re truly giving back,” said Miami Township Police Capt. John Magill, who served as blood drive coordinator.
“I think there are a lot of people who look for ways to give back to the community. I know my phone my rings with people looking for those opportunities to give back. Blood donation is one of those opportunities.”
At Austin Landing crowds cheered as the skydiver landed right on target and children chased behind a police ambassador in a giant inflatable cop costume.
Law enforcement put heavy hardware on display at the Night Out at Wayne High. Neighbors could inspect the Dayton Bomb Squad robot or the imposing tank-like Police Tactical/Rescue vehicle from the Regional Emergency Response Team.
Huber Heights Police Officer Liz Hogue donated on the Bloodmobile before heading back to meet neighbors at the public affairs booth.
“Having the blood drive out here fits in because we’re giving,” said Liz. “We as first responders are out to save lives, fight crime and keep people safe and donating blood is the same thing. I’m O negative, a rare blood type, and if I can give to everyone why not donate.”
Organizers say the growth of social media has played an important role in spreading the word about Night Out and encouraging groups to network. But the benefit is actually meeting face to face at neighborhood block parties and the Night Out events.
With back-to-school looming, many donors saw the Night Out blood drives as a convenient time to give. The Huber Heights Night Out Blood Drive totaled 30 donors, 26 donations and nine first-time donors for 104 percent of goal.
The new Miami Township Night Out Blood Drive had 17 donors, including Greg Gladman from Centerville. His wife Erin lost her brother Kevin Newton to lymphoma. They are friends with lymphoma survivor Robyn Warner and part of the “Remember the Fallen, Fight the War(ner)” team, the top Friends and Family fundraising team at the Dayton Light The Night walk for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Erin is pregnant and her due date is fast approaching. For Greg, Night Out was a chance to take time out for donating. “I’ve been getting a lot of things out of the way before we have our second kid next week!” he said.