Lifeline of Ohio Presents Awards to Champions of Organ, Eye and Tissue Donation

Each year, we honor individuals and organizations for their roles in saving lives through organ, eye and tissue donation at our annual event, Evening with the Stars.

These award-winning partners help us fulfill our mission of empowering the community to save and heal lives through donation. While each and every person who helps make donation possible is a true star in our hearts, the following winners demonstrated an exceptional effort to support our teams and empower the community.

Please join us March 1 – April 9 as we honor each of our stars of donation during this social media event! Winners will be announced on the Lifeline of Ohio social media (below).

Honorees are listed in alphabetical order by organization/individual name.

Dr. Darren Adams

Dr. Darren Adams
2019 Coroner of the Year

Dr. Adams is a great advocate for donation and has worked consistently with us to ensure more lives are saved and healed through organ, eye and tissue donation.

In addition to connecting and collaborating with us when a donation opportunity arises, Adams has proactively worked with us to provide education on donation to Scioto County’s funeral homes. This session was an excellent example of collaboration, education and understanding.

This partnership yielded a better understanding of both organizations’ roles and gave us a direct opportunity to speak to those caring for our donor families.

Bob Ball

Bob Ball
2020 Investigator of the Year

Investigator Bob Ball was extremely helpful with a specific case in 2020 which resulted in a donor being able to give the healing gift of tissue. Ball continuously followed up with us to ensure everything went smoothly and no barriers were in the way which would impede donation.

He is a clear advocate – he was instrumental in moving this donation forward and honoring the family’s decision to donate.

Cardaras Funeral Home

Cardaras Funeral Home
2020 Funeral Home of the Year

Cardaras Funeral Home went above and beyond in 2020 when they partnered with us to move tissue donation forward. They rose to the occasion when asked and even helped to transport donors to their funeral home at no cost to Lifeline of Ohio. This was a great undertaking for them and the gesture was truly appreciated.

Columbus Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club

Columbus Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club
2019 Community Partner of the Year

For years, Lifeline of Ohio has convened a round table of African American leaders to enhance community-wide advocacy for organ, eye and tissue donation in Central Ohio.  These community leaders, in addition to our volunteer force, help us to identify and pursue opportunities for outreach in Columbus. Often, these champions help us to discover community partners who can help us to advance the culture of donation in the African American Community.

In 2018, Lifeline of Ohio teamed up with The Columbus Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club to educate and empower the African American community on donation. The Club made the Lifeline of Ohio mission their MESSAGE through numerous events (held prior to 2020 and COVID) and national outreach to other Buffalo Soldiers chapters. Their efforts registered ten new donors and educated more than 4,500 people!

The compassion, advocacy and commitment of the Columbus Buffalo Soldiers helps advance the Lifeline of Ohio mission and facilitates a culture of donation in the African American community.  Their continued partnership is invaluable.

Fairfield Medical Center

Greg Schmalfeldt
2019 Chaplain of the Year

Fairfield Medical Center

In 2019, Chaplain Schmalfeldt was a true champion for Lifeline of Ohio’s mission. Through leading Fairfield Medical Center’s (FMC) donation council to setting up an event for donor families and recipients, he made sure donation was a vital part of his hospital’s culture.

While he is no longer with FMC, Schmalfeldt is still a great champion for donation.

Genesis HealthCare System

Genesis HealthCare System is a strong partner with Lifeline of Ohio and we are proud to honor them with four awards – 2019 Physician of the Year, 2019 Liaison of the Year, an Innovation Award and a STAR award.

Dr. Brandice Alexander
2019 Physician of the Year 

Dr. Alexander works hard to ensure a spirit of collaboration and donation at Genesis HealthCare System. She worked with the Lifeline of Ohio team to create a presentation on donation to her hospital – it was so well received, it has now been shared with other hospitals as a best practices guide.

We thank Dr. Alexander for her support and leadership to save and heal lives through donation.

Stacey Lacy
2019 Innovation Award (Honor Walk)

In 2019, Lifeline of Ohio created a new honor, the Innovation Award, to recognize a hospital partner who has implemented a new idea or process that leads to substantial, positive impact. It soon became clear one of the largest impacts hospitals have made is holding Honor Walks for their deceased donors.

An Honor Walk is a ceremonial event which takes place as a patient is transported to an operating room prior to giving gifts through donation. This moving recognition allows families one last chance to be with their loved one, prior to donation, and can serve as an opportunity for staff to pay their respects.

We are proud to recognize Stacey Lacy, who took the lead for her hospital, laid the ground work and implemented an Honor Walk in 2019, ensuring the donor’s life and legacy would never be forgotten.

Dan Vincent
2019 Liaison of the Year

Dan has been the liaison between Genesis HealthCare System and Lifeline of Ohio for 24 years and works every day to foster a successful donation program between the two organizations.

Each year since becoming the liaison he has grown the position which has undoubtedly led to a culture of donation within the hospital. Through his years he’s guided Genesis’ Donation Council, led the hospital to receive the top award from HRSA every year of the annual campaign, meets monthly with Lifeline of Ohio to review hospital data and includes donation education in yearly nursing competencies. He is also responsible for hospital policies regarding donation.

Dan is a true, and longstanding, champion for organ, eye and tissue donation.

Genesis Perry County Medical Center, ED
2019 STAR Award

This award is given for demonstrating exemplary service, teamwork, attitude and respect in the donation process.

Thanks to the staff at the Genesis Perry County Medical Center ED, donation has been engrained into the culture resulting in more lives being healed through tissue donation. The staff has worked closely with Lifeline of Ohio to receive education on donation, ensure excellence when it comes to tissue donation and to compassionately care and work with donor families.

Holzer Health System

Jessica Booth
2019 STAR Award
Holzer Health System

This award is given for demonstrating exemplary service, teamwork, attitude and respect in the donation process.

Jessica stands out as a donation champion! As a Clinical Educator for Holzer Health System, she helps our Hospital Development Liaison (HD) educate new nurses within the System on Lifeline of Ohio and their roles in the organ, eye and tissue donation process. She is always an active participant in the conversation and encourages the new team members to ask questions so they can understand the importance and impact of donation. She also assisted with hospital-wide donation education, which allowed the opportunity for our HD liaison to meet many of her colleagues and make lasting connections.

When she changed positions at Holzer, she became even more involved in donation as she supported a donor’s family in their great time of need. Jessica is a champion for Holzer, donation and donor families and we are grateful for her advocacy!

Licking Memorial Hospital

Lisa Hayes
2020 Liaison of the Year
Licking Memorial Hospital

Lisa Hayes is Director of Acute Care Services at Licking Memorial Hospital, her Hospital’s liaison to Lifeline of Ohio and above all, a donor wife who is immensely proud of the lives her husband was able to save. She is also the family member of a transplant recipient.

Lisa works hard every day to honor the gifts of donation. She’s helped create a nursing education video which can be utilized by all our hospital partners to meet social distancing needs, she’s allowed us to present at all new nursing orientations, ICU meetings and OR education.

Lisa also worked diligently 2019 through 2020 to increase donation awareness and registration in her community and helped Licking Memorial to earn their very first HRSA Campaign Award, earning the highest recognition at the Platinum level for the 2020 campaign!

Prior to 2020 Licking Memorial Hospital hadn’t facilitated an organ donor, yet that year four organ donors saved the lives of eight individuals and Lisa helped to coordinate the Hospital’s very first Honor Walk.

Marietta Memorial Hospital

Dr. J. Allen McElroy
2020 STAR Award
Marietta Memorial Hospital

This award is given for demonstrating exemplary service, teamwork, attitude and respect in the donation process.

Dr. McElroy is a physician champion who is impacting the culture of donation at Marietta Memorial Hospital.

He is part of the hospital’s Donation Council and regularly reviews the policies and procedures as they align with donation. He’s presented educational sessions on donation for his colleagues and spent an entire day going unit to unit at Marietta with a portable “donation station” encouraging staff and other physicians to register their donation decision. His passion for saving and healing lives through donation is evident.

Marion Municipal Airport

Tony Hartman
2019 STAR Award
Marion Municipal Airport

This award is given for demonstrating exemplary service, teamwork, attitude and respect in the donation process.

In February 2019, Lifeline of Ohio recovered lungs from a heroic donor to send to a waiting recipient in Boston. The only catch was the team from Boston needed to land at the airport at 5:00 a.m. on a Sunday morning in Marion.

The Marion Municipal Airport does not typically open that early in the morning, so our team went to work trying to contact the airport. A message was sent to the airport’s Facebook page, imploring someone to respond. If the team from Boston couldn’t land at 5:00, the lungs would not be allocated to anyone else – the transplant list had been exhausted.

Our team was elated to receive a call from Tony Hartman with the airport saying he would come in and make sure the team from Boston could land! With his help, the lungs were successfully recovered and transplanted to the patient in Boston. Tony’s quick actions that February morning literally saved lives.

Mercy Health – St. Rita’s Medical Center

We are proud to award Mercy Health – St. Rita’s Medical Center with three distinctions, an Honor Walk Innovation Award and two STAR Awards.

Devin Holtzapple
2020 STAR Award

This award is given for demonstrating exemplary service, teamwork, attitude and respect in the donation process.

Mercy Health – St. Rita’s Medical Center has a donor memorial garden which honors donors and their families. Typically the garden is planted each spring by volunteers from hospital staff and Lifeline of Ohio team members. Last year, due to COVID-19, the garden could not be planted due to restrictions.

That’s when Devin Holtzapple, director of grounds at St. Rita’s, took to action. He and his wife took it upon themselves to plant the garden to honor the donors of Mercy Health – St. Rita’s Medical Center and the Lima community. This was a lovely gesture that meant so much to so many in a very difficult year.

Melanie Miller
2019 Innovation Award (Honor Walk)

In 2019, Lifeline of Ohio created a new honor, the Innovation Award, to recognize a hospital partner who has implemented a new idea or process that leads to substantial, positive impact. It soon became clear one of the largest impacts hospitals have made is holding Honor Walks for their deceased donors.

An Honor Walk is a ceremonial event which takes place as a patient is transported to an operating room prior to giving gifts through donation. This moving recognition allows families one last chance to be with their loved one, prior to donation, and can serve as an opportunity for staff to pay their respects.

We are proud to recognize Melanie Miller who took the lead for her hospital, laid the ground work and implemented an Honor Walk in 2019, ensuring the donor’s life and legacy would never be forgotten.

Rebekah Risner
2019 STAR Award

This award is given for demonstrating exemplary service, teamwork, attitude and respect in the donation process.

Rebekah Risner went above and beyond during April, National Donate Life Month, promoting donation awareness. She took the lead to coordinate the hospitals’ blue and green day event, arranged staff to participate in donation awareness booths and she designed a unique donation awareness t-shirt ICU team members could order and wear.

She also took to social media and made a commitment to post a donation message every day during April. She created exceptional posts which resulted in many comments from St. Rita’s followers including people who said they registered because of her post!

Risner has since joined her hospital’s Donation Council to further donation awareness and we are appreciative for her advocacy.

Mount Carmel Health System

We are proud to award the Mount Carmel Health System with four awards of distinction for their part in saving and healing lives through organ, eye and tissue donation.

Mount Carmel St. Ann’s
2019 Hospital of the Year

The Hospital of the Year award was presented to Mount Carmel St. Ann’s for their steadfast leadership and strong partnership which resulted in numerous lives saved through donation.

The system not only piloted our Placenta Donation Program, they implemented a digital Wall of Heroes and increased the number of organ and tissue donors, just to name a few highlights.

The work Mount Carmel St. Ann’s has placed into donation will no doubt create ripple effects for generations to come.

Unhee Kim
Mount Carmel St. Ann’s
2019 Hospital Administrator of the Year

Unhee Kim is a true leader and partner in continually creating a donation culture in her hospital.

With her past experience as a critical care nurse, she knows the great sorrow families face when losing a loved one and the comfort it brings to know a legacy is being left through donation.  She was a strong advocate for the implementation of the hospital’s digital Wall of Heroes and saw the project through from the very beginning to the final steps of its unveiling.

Kim was selected for this award for her guidance and direction in promoting organ, eye and tissue donation throughout Mount Carmel St. Ann’s.

Joyce Lewis, Mount Carmel East
Perinatal Services, Mount Carmel St. Ann’s
2019 Innovation Award (Honor Walk)

In 2019, Lifeline of Ohio created a new honor, the Innovation Award, to recognize a hospital partner who has implemented a new idea or process that leads to substantial, positive impact. It soon became clear one of the largest impacts hospitals have made is holding Honor Walks for their deceased donors.

An Honor Walk is a ceremonial event which takes place as a patient is transported to an operating room prior to giving gifts through donation. This moving recognition allows families one last chance to be with their loved one, prior to donation, and can serve as an opportunity for staff to pay their respects.

We are proud to recognize Joyce Lewis of Mount Carmel East and Perinatal Services of Mount Carmel St. Ann’s who took the lead for their hospitals, laid the ground work and implemented Honor Walks in 2019, ensuring the donor’s life and legacy would never be forgotten.

Nationwide Children’s Hospital

Michelle Erdy
2019 Innovation Award (Honor Walk)
Nationwide Children’s Hospital

In 2019, Lifeline of Ohio created a new honor, the Innovation Award, to recognize a hospital partner who has implemented a new idea or process that leads to substantial, positive impact. It soon became clear one of the largest impacts hospitals have made is holding Honor Walks for their deceased donors.

An Honor Walk is a ceremonial event which takes place as a patient is transported to an operating room prior to giving gifts through donation. This moving recognition allows families one last chance to be with their loved one, prior to donation, and can serve as an opportunity for staff to pay their respects.

We are proud to recognize Michelle Erdy who took the lead for her hospital, laid the ground work and implemented an Honor Walk in 2019, ensuring the donor’s life and legacy would never be forgotten.

Newcomer Cremations, Funerals and Receptions

Newcomer Cremations, Funerals and Receptions
2019 Funeral Home of the Year

In 2019, Newcomer Cremations, Funerals and Receptions invited several of our teams into their space to learn more about the funeral and cremation processes. These sessions allowed our teams to observe, ask questions and brainstorm how we can improve the care of our donors from a funeral home perspective.

Above the education sessions, Newcomer displays donation materials, raises the Donate Life flag when they have a donor and they support our donor families through our Lasting Legacy program.

Most importantly, Newcomer supported and cared for one of their own funeral directors whose son was a hero of donation at seven-months-old.  This team member bravely shared her story and support for donation in front of her peers at Lifeline of Ohio’s funeral home seminar in February 2019 and continues to share her message with other funeral home professionals.

Ohio Bar Association

Ohio Bar Association
2019 Legacy Award

For more than 15 years, the Ohio Bar Association and Lifeline of Ohio have worked together to empower estate planners and their clients to save and heal lives through organ, eye and tissue donation. This partnership includes shared efforts to forge best practices and advocate for legislative changes in the way estate planners support Ohioans’ ability to register their donation decision.

Our proposed approach removes the registration decision from estate planning documents and directs individuals to record it instead in the Ohio Donor Registry. This change decreases confusion and ensures the decision of any registered donor will be honored if they are able to be a donor at the time of their death.

We are grateful for this important partnership, our work together for the wellbeing of our communities and the many years of collaboration we’ve shared in an effort to improve the health of Ohio.

OhioHealth

OhioHealth goes above and beyond as a health system to partner with Lifeline of Ohio – we are proud to honor them with eight awards – Hospital of the Year, Physician of the Year, Chaplain of the Year, Nurse Practitioner of the Year, Nurse of the Year, an Innovation Award and two STAR awards.

OhioHealth Grant Medical Center
2020 Hospital of the Year

OhioHealth Grant Medical Center has continued to grow in their advocacy and commitment to saving and healing lives through donation. The dedication and understanding of their entire staff on how donation can impact others is the reason why the hospital has experienced a growth in donors, resulting in 116 lives saved through donation in 2020.

The medical center has also worked with Lifeline of Ohio to facilitate very complex and highly unique cases. Through effective and clear communication, the hospital has become a beacon of advocacy for donation, donors and their decision to save others at the end of their lives.

Dr. Joel Provenzano
2020 Physician of the Year

OhioHealth Marion General Hospital

Dr. Provenzano exudes commitment and leadership in regards to the organ, eye and tissue donation process.

Under his guidance, OhioHealth Marion General has seen an increase in donor potential and has signed on to restart the hospital’s donation council. He has gone above and beyond on several donation cases to honor the donor’s decision to give gifts through their passing. He is compassionate and engaging with donor families and fulfills the Lifeline of Ohio mission in any way he possibly can.

Ashley Clegg
2019 Nurse Practitioner of the Year

OhioHealth Grant Medical Center

Ashley was instrumental on a case where a potential donor would have not been able to give gifts through donation if it weren’t for her help. She worked with our team to come up with an action plan, evaluated the situation from all angles and outlined how we should best move forward to save lives through donation. Her initiative and coordination resulted with the patient becoming an organ donor and saving the lives of others.

She is an incredible practitioner and partner to Lifeline of Ohio.

Nicole Correll
2019 Nurse of the Year

OhioHealth Grant Medical Center

Nurses play a vital role in the organ, eye and tissue donation process, and this nurse was no different.

Nicole went above and beyond during a donor case helping to get our recovery teams set up, aiding them with sterile supplies and offering an extra hand in the operating room to ensure the donor’s gifts were maximized.

Her help enabled our teams to complete the recovery successfully and with minor delay. The way she carried herself showed her heart and helped make the best possible outcome for this donor.

Mary Brumley
2019 Chaplain of the Year

OhioHealth Grant Medical Center

Chaplain Brumley is a champion of donation at OhioHealth Grant Medical Center. She was instrumental in a key case where a patient’s family needed to be located to have a conversation on donation. She diligently worked through the weekend to locate the family and facilitate a donation discussion with Lifeline of Ohio. Through her dedication and hard work, three lives were saved.

Lewis Turner
2019 STAR Award

OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital

This award is given for demonstrating exemplary service, teamwork, attitude and respect in the donation process.

Chaplain Lewis worked with a potential donor’s family to help with the acute trauma they were experiencing and walked beside them as they were determining whether or not to move forward with donation.

After spending time with the family, immense healing took place and the family decided very clearly, to choose donation for their loved one. Since that time, Chaplain Lewis has become a great ally and advocate for donation.

Kyle Tweed
2020 STAR Award

OhioHealth Grant Medical Center

This award is given for demonstrating exemplary service, teamwork, attitude and respect in the donation process.

Kyle exhibited all the STAR Award is about – exemplary service, teamwork, attitude and respect in the donation process when he helped with a complex case. Through his work, he was able to coordinate an operating room for tissue recovery at an intensely busy time for the hospital. The timing of the recovery was of the essence and he was able to procure a recovery suite and enabled the patient to become a hero to many people that day.

This would not have happened without his tenacity and organization.

Bethany Witten
2019 Honor Walk Innovation

OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital

In 2019, Lifeline of Ohio created a new honor, the Innovation Award, to recognize a hospital partner who has implemented a new idea or process that leads to substantial, positive impact. It soon became clear one of the largest impacts hospitals have made is holding Honor Walks for their deceased donors.

An Honor Walk is a ceremonial event which takes place as a patient is transported to an operating room prior to giving gifts through donation. This moving recognition allows families one last chance to be with their loved one, prior to donation, and can serve as an opportunity for staff to pay their respects.

We are proud to recognize Bethany Witten who took the lead for her hospital, laid the ground work and implemented an Honor Walk in 2019, ensuring the donor’s life and legacy would never be forgotten.

The Columbus Dispatch

Max Filby
2020 Media Excellence Award
The Columbus Dispatch

When pitching stories of organ, eye and tissue donation to the media, we always want to ensure a compelling story told with facts. And that is exactly what Max does. He is open to education and responsive to story ideas — all so he can accurately relay our critical, and compelling, message to his readers.

Max shared two donation stories in 2020 and one in late 2019 which showcased donation, raised awareness to the cause and educated the public. And, when he puts together pieces on living donation, he is sure to include a piece on deceased donation. We are thankful to count him as a donation advocate.

The Dodge Company

Duane Hedrick
2019 STAR Award
The Dodge Company

This award is given for demonstrating exemplary service, teamwork, attitude and respect in the donation process.

Duane Hedrick has been instrumental in helping to bridge the gap between our organization and funeral home partners.

As a representative of a funeral home supply company, his expertise helped Lifeline of Ohio select the most beneficial products for our funeral partners.  However, his involvement with us didn’t end there. Duane co-wrote a best practice document for funeral home colleagues in regards to donation and tissue recovery, presented at the Lifeline of Ohio funeral home seminar and currently provides hands on guidance and recommendations regarding donation while visiting funeral homes.

He is a donation advocate and is helping Lifeline of Ohio to build a stronger and more collaborative connection to our funeral home partners. We are grateful for his partnership.

The James Comprehensive Cancer Center

The James Comprehensive Cancer Center
2019 Tissue Hospital of the Year

The James worked diligently to increase their efforts to improve tissue recovery outcomes to ultimately heal more lives. Through their efforts, they experienced their sixth straight year of increase in number of cornea donors.

With the help of an extremely active donation council, they were able to implement a process to ensure donation was not an afterthought for staff. Their commitment to donation is applauded and we are grateful for their partnership in healing.

The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center

Beth Armentrout
2020 Nurse of the Year
The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center

Beth is a true example of what it means to be a donor champion. She has been a part of numerous organ donor cases and is always looking for ways to promote donation.

On a particular case she went above and beyond to take care of a donor’s family. With the many COVID-19 visitor restrictions in place, the donor family was frustrated. Beth took the time to listen to their concerns and reassure them all while continuing to take care of the patient.

She went above and beyond when she procured a special blanket for their loved one – it meant so much to their family. This blanket stayed with the patient until he was taken to the surgical recovery – it was then given to his family.

Our donor families are lucky to have a nurse of her caliber taking care of them and their loved ones. She is truly invested in donation.

Trinity Health System

Tammy Moore
2020 STAR Award
Trinity Health System

This award is given for demonstrating exemplary service, teamwork, attitude and respect in the donation process.

It takes a village to make donation happen, especially with one particular case at Trinity Health System. The extra time Tammy took with this potential donor is the kind of dedication to donation which leads to more lives saved and healed.

She is the true definition of a STAR Award winner – she demonstrated exemplary service, teamwork, attitude and respect in the donation process.

Versiti Blood Center of Ohio

Versiti Blood Center of Ohio
2020 Community Partner of the Year

We are proud to announce Versiti Blood Center of Ohio as our 2020 Community Partner of the Year.

To combat the blood shortage during the pandemic, Versiti held several blood drives at the Lifeline of Ohio office in 2020 to help save lives.  They share in the mission of empowering the community to save and heal others through donation and have generously given charitable dollars to support our donor families. Lifeline of Ohio is proud to call them a strong community partner.

WSYX

Haley Nelson 
2019 Media Excellence Award
WSYX
 

Sharing the stories of organ, eye and tissue donation in under three minutes can be somewhat daunting, but Haley is always up for a challenge!

Nelson began working with Lifeline of Ohio in 2018 sharing the important stories of donation. She has shared stories of heroic donors, recipients celebrating milestone transplant anniversaries and stories of patients waiting for a lifesaving transplant.

Through all of the stories she has been compassionate when conducting interviews and willing to meet the person where they are. She is professional, curious, balanced and a wonderful donation advocate.

About Lifeline of Ohio: An independent, non-profit organization, Lifeline of Ohio promotes and coordinates the donation of human organs and tissue for transplantation. Lifeline of Ohio serves 78 hospitals in 33 counties in Ohio and two in West Virginia and is designated as an organ procurement organization through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.