Friday, October 24, 2014



Covington blood donor Gary Lavey with grand prize Chevy Cruze.
DAYTON, Ohio - Covington donor Gary Lavey has a drawer full of blood drive t-shirts, but when it came to picking which one to wear on the night that he might win a new Chevy Cruze he said, “It was a no brainer.” He picked the Community Blood Center (CBC) “50 Years of Saving Lives” anniversary t-shirt he received when he made the donation that entered him into the “Summer Cruze-In Blood Drive” drawing. It turned out to be his lucky shirt.

Gary was one of the 10 computer-selected finalists in the “Summer Cruze-In” campaign to encourage blood donations during the challenging summer months. The finalists were invited to the downtown Dayton CBC Thursday, Oct. 23 for the tense, final drawing. They each selected a sealed envelope from a table, and after a 10-second countdown, opened them simultaneously. With a shocked look on his face, Gary held up the winning “golden ticket.”

“I opened this and saw that gold at the end and I said, ‘Incredible!’” After a round of handshakes from his fellow finalists and a long hug from his wife Amy he sat in his new Chevy Cruze and talked about being a blood donor.

“I want to be able to help, where I know it’s a needed thing,” he said. “I know a lot of people don’t give and they should.” He then gave credit to his daughter Kylie. “My daughter really did get me started and she started a good thing with me and I thank her for that. Just by going, just saying ‘Hey dad, go donate with me’ and I said ‘OK.’”

Gary’s lucky “50 Years of Saving Lives” t-shirt and the champagne color of his new Chevy Cruze will remind him that CBC celebrated its golden anniversary as the region’s first central blood bank on Sept. 14. During the May 30-through-Sept. 30 Summer Cruze-In Blood Drive 30,751 people registered to donate, including 3,029 first-time donors, resulting in 24,879 units donated.

“We are a team here, we all work together, but we couldn’t have done this without all our blood donors. They make this possible,” said Dr. David Smith, CEO of Community Blood Center/Community Tissue Services, during his welcome to the finalists. “I want to thank all 10 finalists. There are 10 heroes here.”

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