National DMV Appreciation Week honors those who help in organ donation

Over 600,000 Wisconsin residents signed up for organ donation in 2015

This is the first ever DMV Appreciation Week across the country.

It’s a chance for individuals of Donate Life, an organization that promotes organ donation, to thank DMV workers for their work in signing drivers up for organ donation.

For more than 25 years, DMV customer service representatives have been asking a simple question to those that come through their doors.

They ask if you wish to become an organ donor upon an unexpected death.

For one individual who received the gift of life from that question, it was important to come back and thank those who help save lives.

Outside the DMV in Onalaska Wednesday morning, it is dark and damp, but inside, Carol Hay is delivering a warm message of thank you.

For Hay, that thank you is personal.

Hay SOT: “I have a genetic kidney disease, and there’s no cure for that disease, and I was facing dialysis about five years ago.”

That’s when Hay received word that she would receive a transplant.

Hay SOT: “I would say that was a bundle of emotions. First, I was thrilled, but secondly, I was thinking about that family that was going through a very dark time in their life. Having made that decision to allow their loved one to go on and leave a legacy with the gift of organs to help other people.”

It’s been from that moment that Hay decided to join the organization Donate Life, to spread that message of thanks.

“600,000 people in Wisconsin actually agreed to be donors in Wisconsin last year in 2015, and for that, we need to thank our DMV friends for helping us accomplish that goal,” Hay said.

Officials with the DMV remind everyone of the simple process.

“The first question on our application for driver’s license and ID is, ‘Do you wish to be registered as an organ, tissue, and eye donor?’ And there’s a box to check yes,” Tracy Howard, Southwest regional manager Tracy Howard said.

And with a process that takes only seconds, Hay says it’s a decision that can save a life.

“Giving the gift of life, and leaving a legacy that lives on in other people, can make a tremendous impact in somebody else’s life,” Hay said.

Hay’s donor actually came from the La Crosse area, which she says gave Wednesday’s thank you at the Onalaska DMV a more special meaning.

Officials at the DMV stress that everyone, regardless of age or health, is eligible to become a donor.