Governor’s Gift of Life Ceremony honors Montana organ donors

GOLA Group

LCNW Vice President Megan Clark, Lt. Governor Mike Cooney, and LCNW CEO Kevin O’Connor honor the families of organ donors in Montana

In 2015, 26 individuals from Montana left behind a legacy of life by becoming organ donors. Recently, we collaborated with the Governor’s Office of Community Service to honor these donors with the Governor’s Gift of Life Award in a ceremony at the Capitol Building in Helena. Held annually, this event provides a way for donor families to reflect on the impact their loved one made through organ donation. In addition to the award certificate, donor families have an opportunity for a leaf engraved with the donor’s name to be placed on the Tree of Life-a sculpture created to honor Montana’s donors. The art piece is displayed every April, in honor of Donate Life Month, and throughout the summer months in the Capitol Rotunda.

The Tree of Life was created by Jim Dolan, an artist out of Bozeman, MT who specializes in three-dimensional, heat endured metal sculptures. With the sponsorship of the Office of Community Service, Dolan created this piece to serve as a reminder of the selfless gifts that organ donors and their families have given, and of the miracles that would not be possible without them. The names engraved on each leaf represent a Montanan who left a legacy of hope through organ donation.

Small Leaf

Engraved leaf on the Tree of Life

Montana is number one in the nation for organ donation registration with 88 percent of the eligible population (18 and older) registered to be organ, tissue, and cornea donors. This high registration rate allows for more donations to be made, and more transplant candidates to receive vital organs. Nearly 99 percent of people who register for donation do so when receiving their driver’s license. The Montana Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) is an invaluable part of the donation process.  A rose was dedicated on behalf of on the Montana MVD on the Donate Life Rose Parade Float in honor of their service and role in our mission of working together to save lives through organ and tissue donation.

In addition to honoring organ donors, the event recognized hospitals across the state who achieved excellence in both organ and tissue donation throughout 2015. Last year, we collaborated with our hospital partners across the state to help the 26 Montana organ donors save the lives of 80 people through organ donation. In addition, 96 patients were able to provide thousands of healing gifts to others through tissue donation. Without the extraordinary efforts of our hospitals, these donations would not be possible. The following hospitals were recognized with the 2015 excellence in donation award for their dedication to our shared mission, and for their unwavering service to their patients and families:

Hospital Award Staff

Hospital staff accepting Excellence in Donation Award

Benefis (East Campus)

Bozeman Health; Deaconess Hospital

Cabinet Peaks Medical Center

Central Montana Medical Center

Great Falls Clinic

Holy Rosary Healthcare

Kalispell Regional Healthcare

Liberty Medical Center

Mineral Community Hospital

Mountainview Medical Center

Northeast Montana HealthServices-Trinity Campus

NorthValley Hospital

PHS-Crow Agency

PHS-Fort Belknap

Phillips County Hospital

Pioneer Medical Center

Providence St. Joseph-Polson

Providence St. Patrick Medical Center

St. Luke Community Hospital

St. Peter’s Hospital-Helena

St. Vincent Healthcare

Stillwater Billings Clinic