On April 19, LifeCenter Northwest collaborated with the Governor’s office to present the Gift of Life Award to more than 30 organ donors who gave the gift of life in Montana in 2018. Donor families gathered at the Capitol Building in Helena with representatives from LifeCenter Northwest, the Governor’s Office of Community Service, and the Motor Vehicle Division for the ceremony which also recognized April as National Donate Life Month.
The event began with rose dedications in which donor families could write a personalized message of love, hope, and remembrance. A rose is a symbol of love, loss, and renewal, and parallels the emotions families may experience while grieving the death of their loved one.
Sentiments of thanks and admiration were shared by the hosting organization and Sarah Garcia, Administrator, Montana Motor Vehicle Division (MVD), who addressed their collaborative efforts to spread donation awareness. Montana leads the nation in the number of residents registered as organ, eye, and tissue donors. This accomplishment is largely attributed to the hard work of the MVD.
Governor Bullock shared his gratitude with each of the families in the room and recognized that though nothing can quite fill the hole of their loss, he hopes it provides some solace knowing that their loved ones saved the lives of more than 120 through the generous act of organ donation. The Governor then read the names of the Montanans being honored and families in attendance were welcomed to the front of the room to receive the Gift of Life Award in honor of their loved one.
Every April, a tree of life sculpture is displayed in the capitol in recognition of National Donate Life Month. Names of past organ donors from the state are engraved on individual leafs that adorn the art piece. Each year, the names of donors from the previous year are added to the tree and revealed at this ceremony.