2023 Ambassador Award Winners
Each year, Lifeline of Ohio honors a small number of individuals with awards based on their time and dedication to serving Lifeline of Ohio's mission of saving and healing lives through organ, eye and tissue donation.
Ambassadors of the Year
Stan and India Harris
Lifeline of Ohio is proud to recognize Stan and India Harris as Lifeline of Ohio’s “Ambassadors of the Year” for their dedication, service and commitment to sharing the Donate Life message. In their more than nine years of volunteering for Lifeline of Ohio they have collectively spent more than 440 hours in the community making a difference for those in need of a life-saving transplant. They have also mentored other volunteers and have inspired many to register as donors, paying Stan’s gift of life forward in honor of his donor and his second chance at life.
Stan and India have volunteered at health fairs, delivered funeral home appreciation gifts, worked at the Dash for Donation and participated in faith outreach, just to name a few opportunities. Stan has also shared his personal journey as a kidney recipient at special events, during media interviews and for special media projects. Their contributions are many, but one of their greatest gifts to Lifeline of Ohio is their leadership and support at the African American Male Wellness Walk, an event that welcomes tens of thousands of participants. In addition to representing us at meetings, they serve as Walk Day captains, who, in the early hours of the morning, can be found setting up our booth and staying throughout the event. Not only are they chatting with Walk participants and cheering people along the course while handing out Donate Life towels, but they build trust in the community with one-on-one conversations about donation that always leads to more people of color saying “yes” to donation. Their ringing of the bell has become an attraction each year at the Walk.
Lifeline of Ohio is grateful for the contributions the Harris’ have made to our Central Ohio community and are honored to work alongside them promoting organ, eye and tissue donation. Congratulations to Stan and India Harris!
Rookie of the Year
The best word to describe our 2022 Rookie of the Year, Peggy Bland, is dependable. After getting connected to Lifeline of Ohio in January of 2020, Peggy hit the ground running; a true feat, considering volunteer activities were nearly completely halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, Peggy did not let that stop her or slow her down. In the short time that Peggy has been connected to Lifeline of Ohio she has already served 90 hours!
Peggy volunteers in honor of her late husband, Ron, who received two gifts of life, 18 years apart. Because Ron was gifted nearly 28 years with Peggy before his passing, she gifts her time and service in his memory, and in tribute to his two generous donors.
Whether it is attending community events, delivering items to the far reaches of our service area, or receiving frantic requests to help with last minute office projects, we know that if Peggy agrees to help with something we can consider it handled. She’s someone we can always turn to for help, and she’s never without a smile. Congratulations, Peggy! Lifeline of Ohio is so fortunate to have you on board.
Barb and Jilian Braver
We’d like to honor Barb and Jilian Braver, donor wife and daughter of Mark Braver, for their hard work and dedication in keeping our Donor Memorial clean and beautiful. Our memorial is a special place where we recognize our selfless heroes of organ, eye and tissue donation. It is a place where families and recipients can come to pay tribute, reflect, and hold space for their beloved donors. It is such a cherished place, and we always strive to keep it as a place that is welcoming to all who visit.
Lifeline of Ohio’s Aftercare team reached out to our ambassadors asking for help with quarterly cleanings of our memorial, and the Braver family quicky responded “yes”. They have spent many hours cleaning the Donor Memorial, braving the weather, pesky insects, and other obstacles, all with a smile on their faces. They know, firsthand, how important the memorial is to so many donor families and have continued to diligently work to keep it looking so beautiful. We are so grateful to the Braver family and their ongoing dedication.
Jermayne Harris has been an exceptional advocate for donation. Since he became connected to us in early 2022, this Ambassador has made it his mission to educate those around him about donation, especially in the Black community. Jermayne is not yet 30 and yet he’s been waiting for a new heart for the last four years. He has shared his story in the news, both TV and the paper, through podcasts, in bus audio ads, we’ve put his face on a billboard and he’s told his story at various events.
We are all pulling for this Ambassador, his new wife, his mom and his whole family to get the call that a heroic donor has gifted their heart. While he waits, Lifeline of Ohio is so grateful that Jermayne Harris continues to share his story and inspire others to register as organ, eye and tissue donors.
Vonessa Henry has never met a stranger. Her warm smile, enthusiasm for life and love for her family is evident to anyone who meets her. Over the last year, Vonessa has single handedly coordinated Lifeline of Ohio’s attendance at a Lima farmer’s market, confidently spoken to hundreds of excited teens, found out she was a natural on radio while being interviewed and has represented us at local fairs, parades, trunk or treats… and talks about donation to anyone who’s near.
Vonessa’s son, Trevor, became gravely ill in 2022 and doctors delivered the news; at the young age of 27, her son would need a heart transplant. The Henry family’s lives were instantly changed and they became an all-hands-on-deck team to get Trevor to the other side of that challenging time. As Trevor gained back his independence post-recovery, Vonessa rolled her commitment to her son’s health and happiness into gratitude, and a promise to honor Trevor’s hero. Vonessa became an ambassador and switched her efforts into educating and inspiring her community about the simple decision that can, and has, saved and healed so many.
Over the last year, Vonessa has selflessly served 42 hours to encourage others to consider donation and has stood by her pledge to, “inspire everyone I know to say YES to donation!”
Melissa Ramey and Arliss Warthman
Lifeline of Ohio is pleased to recognize Melissa Ramey and Arliss Warthman for their ongoing support and commitment to the work our Aftercare team does to support donor families. In the 11 and ten years that Melissa and Arliss have, respectively, served Lifeline of Ohio as Donate Life Ambassadors they have made numerous contributions to the mission, but in their monthly work with Aftercare team, they truly go above and beyond.
Lifeline of Ohio’s Aftercare Team sends multiple mailings every month to our donor families, to provide grief resources, share the various ways donor heroes are honored, and offer our continuous support and care. Melissa and Arliss understand the importance of these special mailings and help us ensure they are sent to our families in a timely manner each and every month. This wonderful team spends at least 36 hours each year helping with just these mailings alone. They are both extremely flexible with their schedules, always ensuring that the mailing is taken care of when they are sick or out of town and are always willing to help when we have last-minute needs.
Working with Melissa and Arliss puts a smile on any face! We are so thankful for them and the many ways they help to support our donor families. Together they “solve all of the world’s problems” one month at a time!