Soldier's organs donated, recipient thanks family for decision - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Soldier's organs donated, recipient thanks family for decision

By Brandi Hodges - bio | email

WYNNE, AR (KAIT) -Zach Jones died in 2009.  Having served in the army in Iraq, Jones had shared his desire to be an organ donor with his family.  When the time came, the family followed his wishes.

"He had verbally told us that he wanted to be an organ donor," said Rex Jones, Zach's father.

They had to wait a full year to contact the seven people who received their son's organs.  The week before Christmas a letter arrived with a message for the family:  "Dear donor family, I write this letter on the occasion of my first anniversary as a kidney donor recipient."

"This guy received one of Zach's kidney's and what makes it so special is this man was retired military and Zach was in the military," said Jones.

Zach went to Iraq when he was 19.
  
"He just loved life and he was like the laughter of the party," said Jones.

"His willingness to join the army at a time of combat spoke of how Zach was," said Mary Jones.

Zach's younger sister, Tori, is grateful to hear from those who have received Zach's gift.

"It feels like because Zach was so full of life.  Now his life is still continuing and he can bring that idea to other people," said Tori Jones.

They already know that their son's death has changed seven lives and will continue to change lives in the future.

The letter goes on to say, "Like your beloved son, when my time on this earth is over as an act of loving kindness I, too, plan to be an organ donor."

This family hopes their son's message of giving continues to spread.  There are more than 100,000 people in need of an organ donation.  This year alone, only 30,000 transplant surgeries will happen.

"We don't need them so why not share them with people who are clinging to life because they need a kidney or they need a heart," said Mary Jones.

They learned from their letter that recipient Elliot is a pastor living in Philadelphia whom they someday hope to meet.

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