National Night Out is one of the highlights of summer for Troy and surrounding Miami Co. communities. You have to think “Strawberry Festival” to imagine another event that has so many neighbors flocking to the levy and filing into long lines for a night of free feasting – that’s right – free food courtesy of area restaurants and vendors. Now for the second year in a row, NNO is not only supporting law enforcement and safe communities, it’s helping boost the summer blood supply.
The Community Blood Center (CBC) bloodmobile rolls into town and parks in front of Hobart Arena, a hook and ladder away from the fire trucks and police vehicles on display at Troy’s City Park. The idea of combining a summer blood drive with the NNO festival was new a year ago, but on Tuesday night, Aug. 7 the drive had the feel of an instant tradition. Freshly made signs pointed the way to the bloodmobile.
“I was driving around with my cousin Jeff and my buddy Dustin and we saw the bus,” explained Greenville High School senior Austin Parkman, as he reclined in one of the bus beds, making his second lifetime donation. “We dropped some friends off and saw this,” agreed DustIn Barton, “and me and Austin said let’s go give blood.” For Dustin this was his fourth lifetime donation, so he will enter his senior year at GHS already eligible to receive a CBC Red Cord at graduation time.
It was a similar opportunity for first-time donor Dylan Roach, a recent graduate of Miami East High School. “I saw you guys pull in and I thought I’d check it out,” said Dylan. “I kind of figured I’d never done it and someone could use it.”
Victoria Greishop, a Tippecanoe High School senior, said she was motivated to go on DonorTime.com and look for a blood drive when she received her new Donor ID card in the mail. She made her third LTD, qualifying her for a Red Cord. “My dad has given like four gallons through his whole life,” she said. “I guess I wanted to be like him.”
Thanks to a friend, Wanda Eddy knew she could combine NNO and a donation on this trip to Troy. She came from Riverside with her six and four-year-old grand-nephews, both anxious to see all the emergency vehicles at the NNO festival. “They want to be firemen when they grow up,” she said. “They like the police cars too.”
NNO was shaping up to a busy night for Pamela Sturtz of Troy, who helped CBC hand out t-shirts and cookies on the bloodmobile. She’s a volunteer with the Troy Senior Center and the annual Strawberry Festival, and was heading over to help with the NNO festival. She’s also a proud member of the Strawberry Choir, which performs at several community events.
“We sing pop, show tunes, easy listening – songs everybody likes,” said, Pamela. That sounded like a perfect harmony for this warm, summer night on the levy where people turned out to have fun and show how they care about their community and each other.