ENGLEWOOD — A dozen summers after the death of former Englewood Police Sgt. Bill Davenport, the blood drive in his memory is still helping save lives.
The Davenport family hosted the 12th annual Officer Bill Davenport Memorial Blood Drive on July 27 at the Englewood Government Center.
Despite another day of severe heat warnings, the blood drive topped 106 percent of the collection goal with 40 donors and 32 donations, bringing the 12-year total to 588 donors and 488 units donated.
“It’s always fun to see the people returning, we were booked solid,” said Bill’s son Brett Davenport, a Kettering firefighter who has served as blood drive coordinator since the first memorial in 2012.
“It’s a collective effort of family and the ongoing effort of everybody. “It’s a sacrifice. It’s the last thing anyone might want to do on a 90-plus degree day.”
“I’m here because of this guy!” said Brett’s neighbor Brent Stayer. “If I can help give someone get a shot of happiness and keep them going, that’s why I’m here.”
“It’s something we take for granted,” said Brett. “But it’s something you want available if you need it.”
Sgt. Bill Davenport was an Englewood police officer for nearly 38 years. In 2011 he lost his 10-year battle with multiple myeloma, a cancer that attacks the plasma cells in the bone marrow. The family began hosting the memorial blood drive on his birthday.
For the first 10 years family members wore bright colored T-shirts with the image of Bill’s badge, then last year transitioned to black polo shirts.
Brett, Cory, and their sister Angela Roberts donated while their mom Joann greeted donors and sold tickets for a drawing to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
“They were so helpful to us when Bill was getting treatment,” said Joann.
Joann took up painting and drawing after Bill’s death. This year she created a painting of multiple images that form iconic shapes – pistol, badge, uniform patch – that tell the story of Bill’s life as a police officer.
“It’s a remembrance of my husband,” she said.
The family remains committed to encouraging blood donations in Bill’s name as an enduring remembrance.
“People take time away from their day to help support our cause,” said Brett. “Even if you donate one time, that’s helping someone. Its impact is huge – one time to make a difference in someone’s life.”