PIQUA, OHIO - Gover Harley-Davidson in Piqua hosted a double-Bloodmobile Community Blood Center (CBC) blood drive Saturday, July 12 as part of the dealership's "All America Saturday" celebration. It was a chance for donors to help boost the blood supply after the busy July 4th weekend and be part of a show of patriotism that included a stirring flag retirement ceremony of more than 400 Old Glory's.
It was a busy morning at Gover with lines of bikes parked in front of the dealership and the showroom busy with customers. Greg Foughty, Gover operations manager and blood drive coordinator, planned for the festivities to be as "American as mom and apple pie," with free apple pie and hotdogs, and a chance for red-blood patriots to donate red blood cells on one of the two CBC Bloodmobiles in the parking area. The blood drive was supported by 47 registrations and resulted in 41 blood donations.
Saturday's blood drive got a boost from area teens on summer vacation who said they began donating in high school. Casey Garpiel, who graduated from Piqua High School in the spring, made her 4th lifetime donation Saturday. Her three previous donations came in high school, qualifying her as a CBC Red Cord Honor Program graduate. "I was actually," she said. "I was very proud of it!"
The same was true of Casey's Piqua classmate Abby Helman, a 2014 Red Cord graduate who also made her 4th lifetime donation Saturday. "They called me, so I came!" she said. Abby will attend the University of Indianapolis in the fall and her goal is to become an optometrist. Victoria Helman, who will be junior at Piqua High in the fall, made her 2nd lifetime donation Saturday. She is now well on her way to earning a Red Cord.
As the teens completed their donations, the flag retirement ceremony got underway. An honor guard from the Miami Valley Young Marines presented the colors, the Piqua Veterans Elite Tribute Squad performed a three-volley "21-gun salute" and more than 400 tattered flags went up in flames. A cloud of dark smoke billowed overhead to the words, "Let these faded flags of our country be retired and destroyed with respectful and honorable rites and their places be taken by bright new flags."
"Our squad is made up of VFW, American Legion, Korean War veterans and World War II," said VFW member Joe Goetz. "We do flag retirements and funerals and services for veterans for all of northern Miami County."
ALL AMERICA SATURDAY PROMOTES "PIQUA BIKE FEST - 100 YEARS LATER" SEPT. 19-20
All America Saturday was part of a full schedule of events this summer and fall for Gover and the town of Piqua. Raffle tickets were on sale Saturday to win a $27,000 Harley-Davidson Screamin' Eagle Breakout motorcycle. The raffle is limited to 500 tickets at $100 apiece, with profit from the drawing going to support the "Piqua Bike Fest - One Hundred Years Later" Sept. 19-20.
The festival celebrates the 100th anniversary of a historic photo taken on Sept. 20, 1914 in front of the former Hemm Bros. Harley-Davidson dealership in downtown Piqua. In the photo nearly 80 motorcycles from the era are lined up in front of Hemm Bros., one of Harley-Davidson's original dealerships. The highlight of Bike Fest will be the recreation of the historic photo in front of the former Hamm Bros. building. The new crowd of motorcyclists will include the raffle winner on the Screamin' Eagle, the Bike Fest committee, and representatives from Harley-Davidson.
The Bike Fest committee will painstakingly recreate details to mimic the original photo, with a key exception: there won't be as many bikes. "We're trying to do the same area, but we can't do that many bikes," said Greg Foughty. "Bikes are bigger now. We're hoping for 50."