A policy dispute that led the Red Cross to back out of a scheduled blood drive at an area gun store has prompted a rescheduling for October.

Huron Valley Guns in New Hudson had originally planned to hold a blood drive this weekend in conjunction with the American Red Cross. Owner Ed Swadish says he contacted the Red Cross in early July and after officials visited the store, a blood drive was approved for this weekend. Swadish says in mid-August Red Cross officials asked if there was anything he could offer to make sure all of the appointment slots were filled. He then put up a Glock 19 handgun as a raffle prize to donors.

However, last week, he says “higher ups” at the Red Cross had seen the gun raffle and demanded he take it down. They also said the drive could not be held inside the store because of the presence of guns and they would park a donation bus in the parking lot instead. Swadish says that was quickly followed by word that the entire drive was canceled.

Todd Kulman, the communications manager for the Red Cross’s Southeastern Michigan Blood Services Region, apologized for the cancellation, but said that the Red Cross is, “committed to maintaining a weapons-free environment” for employees and volunteers and as they began preparations to hold the drive they, “faced a number of logistical and promotional challenges that ultimately made it unfeasible to move forward.”

Swadish, however, has moved on and is now partnering with Versiti Blood Center of Michigan to hold a drive at the location in October. Details will be posted on the store’s Facebook page. (JK)