Organ donors get permanent honor at St. Luke's

Friday, April 24, 2015

Mary Schmidt packed into a vehicle with her two adult daughters and made the trek from Bovey to Duluth on Thursday to honor their beloved son and brother — a smiling, bearded carpenter who loved to hunt, fish and tell stories around the campfire.

"I think about him every morning when I get up and every evening before I go to bed," said Schmidt of her son, David, who died in March 2014 at age 38. Schmidt is still getting letters from the recipients of her son's organs; one Minneapolis man was the recipient of David's liver

Mary and her daughters were among a packed auditorium at St. Luke's hospital, invited to attend the unveiling of the Northland's first Wall of Heroes memorial to honor organ, tissue and eye donors. The diorama features an encased portion of a birch tree outfitted with more than 150 stained glass leaves against a scenic background. The leaves represent the more than 700 people who have had organs, tissues or eyes harvested in the hospital since 2005.

"It's just phenomenal," St. Luke's CEO John Strange said of the Wall of Heroes Memorial. "The work is awe-inspiring."

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