Donor Alliance, the federally-designated organ procurement organization serving Colorado and Wyoming, and the Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles announced today that La Junta driver license manager, Christina Salas has been awarded the Donate Life America Lifesaver Award for AAMVA Region IV. Salas was presented with the award at the La Junta Driver License Office on Sept. 23 in recognition of the positive changes she affected in her community, going beyond her duties and helping raise donor awareness following the tragic and untimely death of a local teenager she had recently advised at the La Junta Driver License Office.
Salas met the young man when he was in the office, and although she didn’t initiate the conversation about organ donation, when she heard his mother tell him to mark ‘no’ for now, she suggested they go home and talk about it. After he tragically died, because of the conversation he and his mother had that started at the driver license office, his family made the selfless and heroic decision to give the gift of life—ultimately helping save the lives of seven people. As a result of the inspiring teenager’s intention and his family’s decision to donate, many young people in the La Junta community also started talking to their parents about donation and came to the La Junta Driver License Office to sign up as donors, increasing the local donor designation rate—or percentage of individuals joining the state donor registry—by 5% that month.
“Christina showed exceptional commitment and support by immediately reaching out to us to find a way to support this young man’s family and friends,” said Anne Gaspers, public education coordinator at Donor Alliance. “Making extra effort in her community, outside of her role as a driver license staff member, Christina provided Donate Life pins and wristbands to his family, friends and his school so they could have a tangible way to remember him.”
Driver license region II regional manager, Shari Creason added, “Christina cares a great deal about the people she works with and her community — everyone is family and she treats them as such. Most of the offices in Region II are in areas where our staff doesn’t just work there, they’re residents. This award reflects not only their commitment to their own neighborhoods, but the DMV’s ‘Always Help’ motto.”
The Donate Life America Lifesaver Award recognizes civil servants who demonstrate exceptional commitment to the DMV’s role as a partner in saving lives through support of the Donate Life mission. September is a notable time for Salas to be recognized as it is also National DMV Appreciation Month, a month-long celebration recognizing the commitment and impact DMV and Driver License office partners have demonstrated in supporting Donor Alliance’s mission to save lives through organ and tissue donation and transplantation. The number of organ transplants in the US has been increasing every year for seven years, and Colorado once again earned the top spot in the nation for highest Donor Designation Rate (DDR), and Wyoming improved to reach 3rd in the nation in 2019. These achievements simply wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for the hard work, dedication and strong partnership between Donor Alliance and the team members at the DMV and Driver Services.
For more information, or to sign up to become a donor visit DonateLifeColorado.org.