KETTERING, Ohio – The trick to the “Unity in the Community” blood drive on Halloween Thursday, Oct. 31 at Fairmont High School was getting students to support two great causes. The treat was in the results.

How sweet did it get? Thursday’s blood drive totaled 209 donors, including 101 first-time donors and 157 blood donations for 99 percent of the collection goal.

The blood drive also launched the 2019-2020 “Unity in the Community” Campaign, a partnership between Alter and Fairmont High Schools, CBC, and Universal 1 Credit Union.  The schools help save lives by hosting fall blood drives and improve lives in the community by choosing a charity to receive the $1,000 Unity Award.

The Firebirds and Knights are celebrating their fifth year participating in the Unity campaign.  Last year the Alter and Fairmont blood drives totaled 225 donors, including 106 first-time donors, and resulting in 184 donations. Alter’s choice for the Unity Award was Diabetes Dayton, a diabetes support organization.

Fairmont will decide the recipient of the 2019-2020 Unity Award.

“We have not yet selected the charity and will be doing so in the next few weeks,” said Student Activities Coordinator Corey Miller, who co-chairs the blood drive with assistant Activities Coordinator Erica Rogers. Allied Health and Student Activities serve as the sponsor groups for all Fairmont blood drives. Students volunteers spread the word about the blood drive and recruit donors.  They volunteer at the blood drive and care for student donors in the Donor Café.

“We were very happy with the number of students who signed up,” said Corey. “It was bigger than our last few fall drives. We’re not sure why the numbers were higher but we’re happy about it! We’re hoping for an even bigger spring drive.”

Alter will host its Unity blood drive on Nov. 14.  The charity chosen by Fairmont will receive the Universal 1 Credit Union $1,000 Unity Award during a halftime presentation at the Alter-Fairmont basketball game.


US Bank Piqua Branch Manager Emily Shawler & her US Bank blood drive team.

PIQUA, Ohio –Piqua donor Jim Hemmert is a retired banker who has been giving blood and encouraging others to donate for 45 years. He got a Halloween surprise when he arrived at the Knights of St. John to make his 190th lifetime donation Thursday, Oct. 31.

“I came in, and boy, there was the Troy-Piqua crowd,” he said. “You could tell immediately. For us to come in here and see that many people – we’re diehard donors – we really like to see it!”

Jim was enjoying the impact of the 2019 Community Blood Center/US Bank Troy-Piqua Challenge Blood Drive being expanded to include the Knights of St. John. He noticed the many new faces of Piqua supporters who came to cast their vote in the Challenge.

Jim carries a binder full of records and photos of his “Donor for Life” history as a blood donor. He’s also a diehard Piqua fan. “It’s a fantastic way to promote the rivalry, and blood donations,” said Jim.

Donors could vote at Knights of St. John, or at the US Bank Piqua branch. Troy and Piqua High Schools held blood drives on Monday.  Troy donors voted Wednesday at the US Bank Troy branch and the nearby Troy Church of the Brethren.  The additional blood drives increased capacity and set the stage for perhaps a record vote total.

“It’s good, because it gives the incentive to come out and donate,” said Jane Arthur as she donated on the Bloodmobile at US Bank Piqua. “A lot of people out there need it. What if it wasn’t there years ago when I needed it, and people hadn’t been there for me?”

Barbara Boyd cast her vote with her eighth lifetime donation, the equivalent of one gallon. “My son goes to Piqua,” said Barbara, “I’ve got to support the team!”

Rita Mitchell made her first lifetime donation at last year’s Troy-Piqua Challenge when she was recruited by US Bank Piqua Branch Manager Emily Shawler, and she was back again this year. “I think it’s a great way to get people out to donate blood, if that’s what it takes!” said Rita.

US Bank will present the $1,000 Challenge award to the winning school before kickoff of Friday’s rival football game. Piqua holds a 16-4-1 lead in the Challenge series, including the last three wins.

Piqua High band members Keri Marion and Anna Willoughby couldn’t donate Monday at their campus blood drive, so they came to the Knights of St. John.

“It doesn’t take very long, and you don’t have to go very far,” said Keri.  She’s a junior at Piqua and is honored to be the band’s drum major.  She considers the Troy-Piqua Challenge and Rival Week a chance to give back to the community and celebrate her school.

“When I was young, I loved watching the band,” said Keri. “To be part of that now is such a blessing.”

Piqua High student Keri Marion donating at Knights of St. John.


Troy Mayor Michael Beamish & wife Ginny with US Bank Troy Branch Manager Jennifer Honeyman & CBC’s Chloe Lehwald on the Bloodmobile.

TROY, OHIO – The rain was coming down and it was a busy Wednesday, Oct. 30 at City Hall, but Troy Mayor Michael Beamish had a duty at the top of his “to do” list before retires at the end of the year, completing a record 16 years in office. 

He needed to “vote” for Troy by donating in the 22nd annual Community Blood Center/US Bank Troy-Piqua Challenge Blood Drive.

“It’s two-fold,” said the mayor. “Blood is important for everybody. And it happened to be the right part of my schedule that allowed a time that would fit!”

The mayor’s wife Ginny Beamish added another vote for Troy with her 23rd lifetime donation on the Bloodmobile parked in front US Bank Troy. “I’m tired of that trophy going to Piqua!” she said.

The Challenge trophy and the $1,000 award from US Bank goes to the school with the most donors at the high school and community blood drives during Troy-Piqua rivalry week. The winner will be announced before kickoff at Friday’s game.  Piqua holds a 16-4-1 lead in the Challenge series, including the last three wins.

Troy and Piqua High Schools held campus blood drives on Monday, the US Bank Troy blood drive was Wednesday, and US Bank Piqua completes the Challenge with blood drives Thursday. New for this year, the US Banks each partnered with a nearby community blood drive on the same day to expand capacity and set the stage for perhaps a record vote total.

US Bank Troy held its Wednesday blood drive at the same time as the nearby Troy Church of the Brethren blood drive, with all donors considered a vote for Troy.

“We have the Bloodmobile filled, and we have 101 at Church of the Brethren,” said US Bank Troy Branch Manager Jennifer Honeyman. “I’m hoping we have some more over there.”

Church of the Brethren blood drive coordinator Ruth Millhouse welcomed the new donors, and the new drama, of the Troy-Piqua Challenge. “I’ve known for several years about Troy-Piqua,” said Ruth. “If we’re going to be partners, that’s fine! There has been some new faces and it’s been very steady.”

“That’s cool! I’m even in my team colors!” said Church of the Brethren donor Connie Keim. “I grew up in Piqua, but I’m a transplant. I would vote for Troy. I’m happy either way!”

Church of the Brethren donor Hannah Setser voted for Troy with her fifth lifetime donation. She is a 2018 Troy High graduate who donated at the school blood drives and volunteered as a member of the ASTRA sponsor group.

“That was my favorite part of being in ASTRA, organizing the blood drive,” said Hannah. “There were so many people!”

Donors on the Bloodmobile at US Bank Troy included Troy High Cheerleader Coach Bethany Luciano and Troy High math teacher Jacqui Lehmkuhl. The talk was about the cold but dry weather predicted for Friday’s big game and all the support for the Challenge blood drive.

“That’s why I’m here,” said Jacqui, as he made her milestone fifth lifetime donation, “to vote!”