Troy donors dash through rain for rival blood drive

Troy student Julia Black voting for Troy.

Troy student Julia Black voting for Troy.

TROY — Soggy, dreary weather greeted Troy blood donors Tuesday, Oct. 27 forcing them to dash through puddles to reach the two Community Blood Center Bloodmobiles parked in the US Bank – Troy parking lot. It was their last chance to “vote” with their donation in the 18th annual Troy-Piqua Challenge Blood Drive and they were not about to let a few rain drops stand in the way of a Troy victory.

The Challenge trophy and a $1,000 award from US Bank goes to the community whose high school and community blood drives combine for the highest number of donor registrations. Troy held a 114-99 lead following the September Piqua and Troy High School blood drives. But Piqua enjoyed beautiful fall weather for Monday’s community blood drive at US Bank – Piqua, while Troy got Tuesday’s downpour.

“I was worried about that,” said Troy High School Principal Bill Overla as he donated during the final hour of the blood drive. He had spent the day going back and forth from the Troy campus to US Bank, recruiting eligible staff and students, and turning to social media for a final push. “I sent out an update on Facebook last night,” he said. “I saw quite a few people checking in today who I know are on Facebook all the time.”

Troy sophomore Julie Black wasn’t able to donate at the campus blood drive, but was determined to make her vote count Tuesday. “Everyone is talking about the game,” she said. “We’re tied with Piqua (the 130-year rivalry is tied at 62-62-6) and we want come out on top. People want to come out today to the blood drive to get ahead of Piqua.”

The Challenge began with a Troy victory in 1998, but was followed by a string of Piqua victories (broken only by a tie in 2001) until Troy’s resurgence in 2012 and 2013. Piqua’s victory last year was decided by just seven votes. The Troy-Piqua Challenge winner announcement and check presentation will take place Friday, Oct. 30 before the 7 p.m. kick-off of the rivalry game at Troy Memorial Stadium.

Lashae Severt was one of several Troy students at the Upper Valley Career Center who came to support Troy. Lashae was nervous about her first lifetime donation but said, “It was better than I thought!”

Troy missed a chance to pick up a triple-vote when Tony Iverson arrived to donate with his triplet sons Tanner, Tyler and Tee Jay. The boys are sophomores at Troy, but learned they wouldn’t be eligible to donate (with parent permission) until they turn 16 on Nov. 8.

But Troy benefited from loyal friends like Ruth Hartman, a retired Troy Junior High School teacher who voted with her 63rd lifetime donation. “My husband taught for Troy for 30 years,” she said. “So Troy is important.”

Troy supporter Deb Denial made her 44th lifetime donation Tuesday. “The first time I donated, I got misty-eyed,” she recalled. “They said, ‘You’re crying!’ and I said I feel so good to be able to donate. Everyone should.”

Troy supporter Melissa Allred summed up the satisfaction of supporting her alma mater with a blood donation. “It’s not just the rivalry,” she said. “It’s the cause of blood donations. My mom had to receive a transfusion a couple of month ago because of a GI bleed. I was already a donor, but when that happens to someone close to you, it makes you realize how important it is.”

Troy student Julia Black voting for Troy. student Julia Black voting for Troy.