ITD awarded gold medal for organ donor support

Idaho’s extraordinary level of participation in a national organ, tissue and eye donor program earned the department and its Division of Motor Vehicles a gold medal-of-honor award for 2012. More important, the registry program provides a second chance for life. Mark Bowman is alive to testify about the life-saving benefits of donations.

Bowman and his family joined representatives from the Pacific Northwest Transplant Bank and Intermountain Donor Services in recognizing ITD and the DMV during an award ceremony last week at Headquarters.

“Presenting this award today to the Idaho Transportation Department is evidence that you, ITD, stand with our coalition,” said Craig Van De Walker, director of operations for Pacific Northwest Transplant Bank. Idaho’s donor registry is supported by a coalition of organizations, including the Idaho Lions Eye Bank, SightLife, LifeNet Health Northwest, Community Tissue Services, Pacific Northwest Transplant Bank, Intermountain Donor Services and LifeCenter Northwest.

“Everybody at ITD has been so helpful,” said Alex McDonald, director of public education and public relations for the Intermountain Donor Services. “It’s been wonderful. Lives are saved each year thanks to organ and tissue donations.”

For Bowman, the life-saving donation of a kidney eight years ago meant that he would get to watch his children grow to adulthood and see 11 grandchildren brought into the world.

“I’ve been able to be there for my children, for graduations and college,” said the Pocatello-area native. “I couldn’t have done that without receiving the donation.”

Bowman’s daughter, Barbara Hermansen, said she appreciated the donor program.

“We celebrate dad’s second chance at life each year,” Hermansen said.

“It gives so much hope and life and blessings,” she explained. “It’s a beautiful program, and it saved my dad’s life because of one person out there being willing and unselfish enough to share a part of themselves.”

Idaho is one of only 10 states in the country to receive a gold medal in 2012 for helping its citizens to become donors. ITD provides drivers an opportunity through “Yes! Idaho” to register for the life-saving program when they renew or apply for a new driver’s license. Last year, Idaho received a silver medal for donor participation.

Nationwide, donor registration rates average 44.5 percent but 62 percent of Idahoans 18 years and older said yes to the donation option this year. The success of a state registry like the Idaho Donor Registry depends on cooperation from driver license services and the giving nature of the people of those states.

“Thanks to the people who ask the important question, ‘would you like to be an organ donor?’” Bowman said.

For more information about the Idaho registration process visit

View the national report.

Several ITD employees also received representative medallions for their work promoting the donor program: Ed Pemble, Lynn Rhodes, Cathy Smith, Bob Thompson, Jeff Stratten, Amy Smith and Callie Wrigley.

Photographs: Members of the donor registry coalition, the Bowman family and ITD personnel pose for a group picture (top); Barbara Hermansen(above left) talked about how important the donor program was to saving the life of her father, Mark Bowman (above center); and ITD Deputy Director Scott Stokes accepts Idaho’s gold medal on behalf of the department (above right).

Published 11-16-2012