Ehren Miller

June 12 is organ donor awareness day

By Christina Nelson

Reprinted with permission from the Nevada Appeal
Monday, May 31, 1999 9:16 AM

A table in the middle of the Miller family’s living room is covered with brochures, green ribbon, fact sheets and hand-drawn posters ready to be hung.

“It has the potential to save lives,” Ehren Miller, a junior at Carson High School, said about the project strewn before him.

Miller has worked for the past four months to proclaim June 12 Carson City Organ Donor Awareness Day. The project is part of a long process of becoming an Eagle Scout, something Miller has been working on since second grade when he entered the Scouts as a cub.

But he didn’t only do this to earn a badge. He did it because he’s seen a side of the organ donor process that not many people have dealt with.

Three years ago Miller’s father, John, a former editor at the Nevada Appeal, died while waiting for a heart transplant.

“Unfortunately organ donation cannot happen unless someone dies,” Miller said. “But the cost of one life could save seven others.”

Miller is a member of the student council, the rifle team and National Honor Society.He’s thrown discus and shot put for three years on the CHS track team. Next year he will be the ROTC commanding officer – one step closer to following his dream of attending the U.S.Military Academy at Westpoint.

“Ehren is somewhat of a throwback to what we think young men of his age should be,” said Steve Reynolds, scout master of troop 341, Miller’s troop.

Carson City Mayor Ray Masayko presented Miller with a proclamation Thursday establishing June 12 as Organ Donor Awareness Day.

“I wrote the mayor requesting that he help me with the project,” Miller said. “Shortly after – two to three days after – he called and said, ‘Absolutely. I’ll help you with anything you need.”

“The mayor was so nice about it,” said Jeanette Miller, Ehren’s mom.

“He’s a good student and a good citizen. It was a pleasure to help him,” Masayko said.

Assemblywoman Bonnie Parnell, also one of Miller’s middle school teachers, was instrumental in getting the governor’s office to proclaim the day also, Miller said.

When the day comes, Miller will be running between Carson’s six grocery stores to supervise booths he and other scout members will set up. The scouts will distribute informational pamphlets donated by the Nevada Donor-Transplant Coalition, donor cards and green ribbons – the symbol of organ donor awareness. The goal is to inform the public about how to donate organs and what organs can be donated.

“We’re not out there to force them; we’re out there to make them aware,” said Nathen Berger, a troop member who is helping with the project.

According to the California Transplant Donor Network, which also serves hospitals in Northern Nevada, one person dies every two hours awaiting an organ transplant. Only one-third of the people who are suitable to donate organs actually become organ donors.

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