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Huron Valley Ambulance honored by Gift of Life Michigan

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First responders recognized for role in support of organ and tissue donation

Huron Valley Ambulance was honored recently by Gift of Life Michigan for its dedication to honoring the generosity of organ and tissue donors and their families. Huron Valley Ambulance was recognized as a Donation Champion by Gift of Life Michigan.

HVA was among the three organizations and 13 individuals honored by Gift of Life as Donation Champions on Aug. 12 for their support of organ and tissue donation and promotion of the Michigan Organ Donor Registry.

Specifically, the company was recognized for its partnership to transfer deceased donors on ventilators to Gift of Life’s Ann Arbor facility. Donors must be kept stable during transport to ensure a successful recovery.

“Our critical care paramedics enjoy the challenge of these transports and understand the importance of maintaining the clinical stability needed for organ and tissue donation,” said Valerie Mitchell, a supervisor with HVA.

Mitchell has seen first-hand the good organ and tissue donation can do. Her children’s father is a transplant recipient; he received a gifted liver about eight years ago. He’s since recovered and she said she’s grateful for the additional time her children have had with their father.

“This selfless gift gives life to someone who otherwise would not survive. One donor can save several lives and provide an avenue for research into diseases and cures,” she said. “The value of these gifts is unmeasurable.”

This is the third year Gift of Life has recognized Donation Champions throughout the state. Last year, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the awards were handed out individually and winners celebrated via social media and other digital channels. The Champions Gala was an in-person event this year, held at an outdoor venue at Zingerman’s Cornman Farms in Dexter.

Other winners are:

  • Secretary of State Employee: Maríaelena Hernandez, Secretary of State Branch Office, SW Detroit
  • Volunteer: Scott Campbell, West Michigan
  • Community Partner: Key2Finesse, Metro Detroit
  • Multicultural Difference Maker: Brandon Corder, Beats X Beers, Flint
  • Donation Storyteller: Ingrid Kelley, FOX 2 Detroit
  • Medical Examiner: Dr. Carl Schmidt, Medical Examiner, Wayne County
  • Certified Physician Assistant: Blair Cotton, Spectrum Health
  • Nurse: Tonia Cole, McLaren Flint Hospital, Flint
  • Physician: Dr. Jeffrey Wilt, Ascension Michigan Borgess Hospital, Kalamazoo
  • Donation Liaison: Valerie Canary, Hurley Medical Center, Flint
  • Funeral Professional: Harry J. Will Funeral Homes, Metro Detroit
  • Transplant Center Professional: Dr. Damanpreet Bedi, Beaumont Royal Oak
  • Hospital Executive Leader: Lisa Friedman, St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor
  • Honoring Life Through Donation Award: John Edmond, Lansing
  • Hospital of the Year: Spectrum Butterworth Hospital, Grand Rapids
  • Legacy Award: Cathy Warren, Donate Life Coalition
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