May 16, 2019
Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office receives Spirit of Collaboration Award
If not for the Lancaster’s Sheriff’s Office, 2,000 of Live On Nebraska’s tissue donations wouldn’t have been possible.
Three years ago, Lancaster County Sherriff’s Captain Ben Houchin collaborated with Live On Nebraska to begin implementing a process for tissue referrals.
There are no requirements for law enforcement agencies to notify Live On Nebraska about deaths or potential donors. Houchin and Sheriff Terry Wagner recognized how donation benefits the community and wanted to help, saying that the effort to make an extra five-minute call to Live On Nebraska is a “no brainer.”
“There’s no downside and nothing but positivity can come from it,” he said. “When these families have gone through tragedy and a really bad situation, at least something good can come from it. That’s an easy sell.”
As a result, thousands of patients now have a better quality of life.
The donated grafts include bone, tendons, heart valves, corneas and more. The recipients of these gifts are being spared amputation, seeing for the first time, healing from breast cancer, returning to the field after sports injuries and recovering from devastating burns.
To recognize this effort, Live On Nebraska presented its first Spirit of Collaboration Award to the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office. The award will be presented annually and recognizes any agency that has contributed positively to donation outcomes across Nebraska.
“There are a lot of things in the media that give law enforcement a black eye,” Houchin said. “When awards like this come up that we’re doing something good and impacting lives, it makes the whole agency happy that we’ve been able to do it and benefit people’s lives and to be able to make a tragic situation a little better.
“You hear about the amount of people who are waiting for this kind of help, and that impacted me more than anything to implement this process. If my loved one needed something, I’d want these agencies doing as much as they could to give my loved one the best chance.”