Richmond, Va. - United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) dedicated a set of wind chimes in honor of all transplant professionals who have given their lives in the performance of their duties, and in particular six individuals who died in a tragic plane accident while bringing an organ offer to the University of Michigan Medical Center. The ceremony coincided with the meeting of the Board of Directors of UNOS and the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) June 19 and 20.
The ceremony honored four University of Michigan transplant professionals (David Ashburn, Richard Chenault II, Ricky LaPensee and Martin Spoor) and two employees of Marlin Air (Dennis Hoyes and Bill Serra) who lost their lives on June 4, 2007. "Their legacy is their compassion for others, and their commitment to their chosen line of work," said Timothy Pruett, M.D., president of the OPTN and UNOS and chair of the OPTN/UNOS Board of Directors. "We can honor their legacy, too, by remaining equally committed to our mission of saving lives through organ donation."
Dr. Pruett and UNOS Executive Director Walter Graham accompanied Jeffrey Punch, M.D., an OPTN/UNOS board member and chief of the Division of Transplantation at the U-M Medical Center, in placing a memorial wreath in the U-M colors of blue and gold at the base of the chimes.
The chimes are located within the National Donor Memorial in front of UNOS' headquarters in the Virginia Bio-Technology Research Park. The National Donor Memorial honors the hope, renewal and transformation made possible by the nation's organ and tissue donors.
UNOS is a private non-profit organization linking all members of the organ procurement, transplantation and histocompatibility communities. It administers the national Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network under contract with the Health Resources and Services Administration, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. UNOS provides the OPTN with a functional, effective management system incorporating the UNOS Board of Directors, committees and regional membership structure to operate OPTN elements and activities.