ITD among 6 states nationwide to receive silver award
for checkoff program for organ, tissue, eye donors

As a youngster Lacey Haye was spunky, energetic and inquisitive. A conversationalist. She loved to read, was fascinated by sunflowers; had an affinity for the family horse.

She also became an organ donor.

When Lacey applied for her first driver’s license in Idaho she had a dilemma. Should she check the box indicating she wanted to become an organ donor in the event of an unexpected death? Mother Diana left the decision to her daughter. Without much further consideration, the teenager checked the box.

Because she did, two people are alive today and two others can see.

In 2007, the 19-year-old college co-ed mounted a motorcycle for the first time. It proved to be a fatal ride – injuries sustained in a crash a short time later prematurely robbed the Twin Falls native of a long and productive life.

“She loved well and was well-loved,” her mother said.

Yet, her legacy lives because she had the foresight and compassion to check the box.

Lacey’s mother put her daughter’s selfless decision and the organ donor program into perspective when she addressed the Idaho Transportation Board in Boise Thursday. She was part of an entourage that formally presented a national award to ITD and the Division of Motor Vehicles.

The award acknowledges ITD as being a national leader for its “Yes” Idaho Donor Registry program.

Alex McDonald of Intermountain Donor Services, based in Salt Lake City, presented the silver award to the DMV’s Alan Frew, Ed Pemble and Lynn Rhodes during the board meeting.

McDonald, director of public education and public relations, said Idaho was one of just six states nationwide to receive the silver award for its participation in the organ, tissue and eye donor program.

The silver medal is awarded to states with superior performance in four of five major measurements of their state registry.

Tracy Schmidt, executive director of Intermountain Donor Services, praised Idaho for its participation level and for its impact.

“Idaho has an outstanding record for the high percentage of citizens who have become volunteer organ donors. It is an honor for me today to be able to recognize the Driver License Division for their important contribution to this effort,” he said.

“The success of the donor registry has a direct correlation to lives saved. We could not have the success we have here in Idaho without the support from the dedicated employees at the Driver License Division.”

Schmidt read a letter from Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter acknowledging the importance of the ”Yes” Idaho Organ Donor Registry.

“This event recognizes the great performance of the Idaho Organ Donor Registry and provides well-earned recognition for its excellent work. I am very appreciative for its role in providing people with the opportunity to register their wishes to be an organ donor.

“It is my hope that we all will continue reaping the benefits of the registry’s work for many years to come.”

Schmidt said the Utah representatives visited three Idaho driver’s licenses offices on the way to Boise. They were impressed by the level of commitment they saw for the organ donor program.

In addition to Schmidt, McDonald and Diana and Stan Haye, the contingent at Thursday’s board meeting included:

  • Jay Lugo, director of the Idaho Lion’s Eye Bank
  • Dixie Madsen, Intermountain Donor Services
  • Aaron Madsen, manager of Community Tissue Services in Boise
  • Amanda DeRoche, Community Tissue Services

Board member Neil Miller asked if there is an age limitation, suggesting that his parts are getting worn out. McDonald reassured Miller that he had 35-40 more good years, but also indicated organs can be accepted from anyone younger than 80.

Miller said he has family members and friends who received the gift of life or sight from organ donations.

Board chairman Darrell Manning agreed.

“We know we have good people in this department,” Manning said, thanking the contingent for their presentation and their efforts to extend life and sight through organ donations.

The citizens of Idaho are to be congratulated for their generous nature, but the need still is great, according to the Intermountain Donor Services. “Currently there are approximately 400 people in Idaho waiting for a life-saving transplant.” For information about becoming a registered donor, visit the “Yes” Idaho Donor Registry website.

Photos: ITD's Alan Frew, Ed Pemble and Lynn Rhodes receive the silver award (top); Lacey Haye's parents Diana and Stan Haye (right); Alex McDonald (left).

Published 1-21-2011