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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Oct. 4, 2012

THE VOTES ARE IN! PIQUA US BANK DONORS ANSWER WITH FINAL DRIVE OF TROY-PIQUA CHALLENGE

PIQUA, Ohio – When it comes to writing the giant, $1,000 check from sponsor US Bank to the winning school in the Troy-Piqua Challenge, “Piqua” has become a rubber stamp. The northern end of the traditional Miami Co. rivalry hasn’t lost the Community Blood Center (CBC) blood drive competition since 1998. But claiming the prize again this year might come down to Michael Blair’s vote.

Michael was aboard one of the two CBC Bloodmobiles stationed at the US Bank Piqua branch on North College Street Wednesday, Oct. 3 for the final blood drive of the 2012 Challenge. “Piqua always seems to win,” he said and another victory would be “awesome.”  Then he held up his paper ballot with the large “X” he had made indicating his vote for Piqua and said, “What am I supposed to do with this?”

Michael had brought along the ballot with his donor paperwork when he boarded the Bloodmobile, instead of putting it in the ballot box.  When he finished his ninth lifetime donation he made a B-line for the registration table to cast his ballot officially.  “I like to donate because every time I do I get a phone call saying I saved a life,” Michael said. “And that’s awesome!”

We’ll find out which community claimed the Troy-Piqua Challenge when US Bank presents the check to the winning school right before kick-off of the Troy-Piqua football game Friday, Oct. 26 in Piqua’s Wertz Stadium.  It may indeed be decided by a single vote.  Troy emerged from the high school blood drive competition with a four-vote lead and recruitment for the community drives has been aggressive.  Donors can vote for either town at the community drives (The US Bank Troy branch drive was Monday, Oct. 1) and the final tally is a well-guarded secret.

“I think it’s fantastic,” US Bank Piqua Branch Manager Kathy Hildebrand said about the energy in this year’s competition. “Everybody is always talking about the competition between Piqua and Troy.”

It’s the kind of rivalry that motivated US Bank teller Laura Salisbury to put aside her nervousness and become a first-time donor.  “We’re trying to get everybody out,” Laura said. “Hopefully we’ll win!”

Sheryl Asbury knows the value of blood donations first hand from her work as a Kettering Medical Center nurse.  She’s from Covington, and her vote at the Piqua drive went to Troy. “Don’t tell anyone,” she whispered.  “My husband’s a Piqua grad!”

Then there was 16-year-old Robert Miller, a sophomore at Piqua High School who wasn’t eligible to donate yet when the campus drive was held last week.  “When I found out I couldn’t donate I also found out I would be able to donate this week!” he said.

Miami Co. history is what makes the Troy-Piqua rivalry so rich.  The blood drive is in its 15th year and the football rivalry dates back to 1899, one of the oldest in the state.  That’s not lost on Jack Greggerson who taught history for 30 years at Bennett Junior High School.  Now he’s the canal boat captain at the Ohio Historical Society’s Johnston Farm and Indian Agency.

Jack made his 10th lifetime donation at the drive and chose a red arm bandage that matches his shirt and bright red suspenders.  He had just come from guiding a group of third and fourth graders from Immaculate Conception School down the historic Miami-Erie Canal.

“When the Bloodmobile is in town and I’m available I donate,” Jack said with a smile. “I’m pulling for our town!”

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