Family man and philanthropist Randy Scott honored with Gift of Life award by Montana Governor

A loving husband. Dedicated father of four. Basketball coach. Neighborhood handyman. Philanthropist. Accomplished banker and board member. It’s an understatement to say Randy Scott was a beloved member – and standing at 6 foot 7 inches – quite literally a pillar of his community. He was accustomed to strangers remarking on his height, so he often joked and said he was 5 foot, 19 inches tall for a chuckle. Then just like that, he’d strike up a conversation with his newfound friend.

That’s how his son, Shann, remembers him: kind and generous – with his time, money, humor or conversation. “He took learning more about people to heart,” says Shann.

Randy always put his wife Lynette and his children first. When it came to Little League games, school plays and music concerts, Randy was there. He was the first to roll up his sleeves and volunteer to build baseball fields, install sprinkler systems, or chauffeur kids to music camp. Randy also understood the value of living in the moment. “He loved to get down on the floor with his grandkids and play cars or make pancakes and let them help,” recalls Shann. “It was special to them.” 

In November 2019, Randy and Lynette flew to Seattle, Wash. to visit their daughter. When they returned home to Billings, Randy collapsed unexpectedly in the airport. He was rushed to St. Vincent Hospital, but he could not be resuscitated. Randy suffered from a suspected brain aneurysm and was put on ventilated support so his family could say their goodbyes.

“Randy was a registered organ donor and this decision was a blessing for the entire family.”

Shann described the value of the added days the family had to hold their dad’s hand, talk to him, and partake in the keepsakes LifeCenter Northwest offered to keep their dad’s memory alive.

“It was an opportunity to spend time with our family,” says Shann. “We were able to work through the grief and it was hard. But now we have keepsakes, like the picture of my dad’s handprint that my kids painted around the frame and it now hangs in our house.”

LifeCenter Northwest coordinated an honor walk for Randy and his family. Lynette was initially hesitant about the ceremony because Randy, as a humble man, would not want to be the center of attention. However, when Lynette learned how healing this ceremony is for others, not only for them, but also for his care team, she agreed that an honor walk suited Randy’s legacy because he always put others first. The family and the St. Vincent care team escorted Randy all the way to the operating room for the recovery of his organs. 

As the ultimate family man, Randy would be proud to know that he kept a family together with the gift of his kidney. “It made sense with the kind of person he was,” says Shann. “It wasn’t the miracle I had initially hoped for the evening I received the news and drove to the hospital, but it was a miracle. Someone received additional years of life through my dad.”

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April is National Donate Life Month and Governor Steve Bullock is honoring Randy and nine other Montana organ donors with the Gift of Life award to acknowledge their life-saving donations last year. Bullock and the Montana Office of Community Service hosts an annual event to recognize organ donor families, but this year’s event was canceled due to the recent stay-home order. Each family member will receive a signed certificate from the Governor by mail.

In addition to the award certificate, donor families have the opportunity for their loved one’s name to be engraved on a metal leaf and placed on the Tree of Life; a sculpture created by Bozeman artist Jim Dolan. The art piece is displayed in the Capitol Rotunda every April, in honor of National Donate Life Month, and each leaf represents the life-giving legacy of Montana donors.

“Donate Life Month offers us a chance to reflect on the importance of offering hope to those in need, and to pay tribute to our donor families, organ and tissue donors, and recipients,” says Kevin O’Connor, president and CEO of LifeCenter Northwest. “Our work continues, in partnership with hospitals and families across our region, to serve patients in need.” 

LifeCenter Northwest will continue to recognize donors like Randy who chose to give life. Their legacy will live on in the people whose lives were saved because they made a generous choice. 

You can honor donors during Donate Life Month by wearing blue and green, sharing their stories, and registering to be an organ, eye and tissue donor, and sharing this decision with your family.

Register your decision at www.DonateLifeMT.org.