You could always find Joshua Heser enjoying life to the fullest in the great outdoors of Montana or on a ranch. Born and raised in the country, Josh was an avid adventurer; he loved hunting, fishing, backpacking, and riding his four-wheeler.

Although he loved everything about the outdoors, family was extremely important. He dedicated time to working on his wife’s family ranch as well as many neighbors’ all while managing his own diesel and mechanics business. Josh lived life vibrantly, and he was respected for his hard work, care and service.

On October 23, 2014, Josh, his wife Johnna, and her family were riding in a Bronco vehicle with over sized tires when it rolled off an embankment on a country road close to the ranch. Josh was thrown out, and suffered a massive brain injury when the vehicle rolled over him. He was airlifted to Great Falls Benefis East and placed on ventilated support, but was pronounced brain dead the next morning.

Though strong and hardworking, Josh was known as a ‘gentle giant,’ “he was a man of kindness, devoted to serving others, and he believed in generosity,” said his mother Cheryl.

It came as no surprise to Cheryl, to learn that he was a registered donor. Even after death, Josh was to continue his service through donation. He gave five people a second chance at life through the donation of his heart, lungs, both kidneys, and liver. In addition he enhanced the lives of many more through his cornea, and tissue donations.

“We learned so much about the donation process,” said Cheryl. “Working with LifeCenter Northwest, in the team, and the process convinced us even more that organ donation was the right thing to do,” she added.

“When someone writes that her back is now pain free thanks to Josh’s tissue, or we learn that someone didn’t have to have an amputation thanks to Josh’s veins, we know that parts of our beloved son still live.  The tragedy of death is turned into hope for many people.”

Eric and Heser Family
Erik Gelhar (center) with donor Josh’s family at Missoula Donation Celebration