Honoring those who make a difference

Published 6:44 pm Friday, May 21, 2010

The flag that was flown in David Henderson’s honor this week told the story of the caring kind of man that he was.

The Donate Life Flag was flown on May 17 and 18 at Baptist Medical Center South in Montgomery and on the day of Henderson’s funeral, May 20, at Skeen Funeral Home in Troy. The Alabama Organ Center presented the flag to his widow, Darla Henderson, on Thursday.

She found great comfort in the flag and felt great pride in her husband.

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“I didn’t know that David was an organ donor until the nurse at the hospital told me that he was on the state registry,” Darla said. “He had marked his driver’s license. She asked me if I wanted to honor his request and I didn’t hesitate. If that’s what David wanted, then that’s what I wanted.”

Darla said she, too, has indicated on her driver’s license that she would like to be an organ donor.

“Even though both of us had marked our driver’s licenses, we hadn’t talked about it with each other,” she said. “But I knew that, if David hadn’t wanted to be an organ donor, he never would have marked the card. That’s just the kind of man David was. He would help anybody any way that he could. He was a good friend to so many and a wonderful husband and father. I’m so thankful that a part of him still lives.”

On the morning following Henderson’s death, Darla received a phone call from the Alabama Organ Center telling her that “as we speak” a 63-year-old man was receiving David Henderson’s liver.

“The man had been waiting a long time for a liver,” Darla said. “A little girl, nine years old, got one of David’s lungs. Someone will get his other lung and someone will be able to see because he cared enough to be an organ donor.”

Darla said as much as she is grieving the loss of her husband, she finds comfort in knowing that others will have a second chance at life because of his caring spirit.

“David will live on through these people and I hope, one day, to be able to meet them,” Darla said. “He has touched the lives of others and I am so proud of him. I miss him so much and always will.”

An organ donor gives others a second chance at life. And Darla Henderson knows, too, that an organ donor’s family is also blessed by the gift.