Old friend lives on through gift he gave

Lime Springs volunteer Earl Johnson continued to give, even after his death, by donating his organs.

by Marcie Klomp

On Oct. 4, 2010, Lime Springs and area was saddened to learn of the death of businessman and town supporter Earl Johnson. The family took solace in the knowledge that his death, although devastating to them, would perhaps be the answer to others prayers as Johnson was an organ donor.

Wife Kareen said they had never dwelled upon his wishes, but she knew how he felt about organ donation. Because of his gift, the family was given green “Donate Life Awareness” bracelets. “The bracelet that I wear hasn’t been taken off since the funeral,” grandson Luke Johnson said.

Jump forward a year. On Dec. 9, 2011 Luke was on a flight back from California for his job. One of the flight attendants stopped to show Luke her own green bracelet. After their conversation, Luke e-mailed his entire family with this story.

Steve Johnson, Earl’s son, also wears his bracelet most of the time.

“She asked why I wore one so I told her about Grandpa. She wears the bracelet because she is the recipient of an Iowa Donor Network organ. She said that she is very thankful for people like him and the families that make the decision to donate their organs.

“I wanted to share this with all of you because of the effect it had on me. He lives on in all of us and has helped so many others that we may not even know.”

Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14 is fittingly National Organ Day. It might be the right time for family members to discuss organ donation. Let them know your intentions in case of an accident. You can also designate your wishes by saying “yes” on your driver’s license.

Luke says, “It is surprising how many times different people have asked what it stands for. It has a tendency to bring back a lot of good memories, so I think I’ll be keeping it on for some time…”

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