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From left, chief examiner Craig Lyons, district supervisor Reggie Kyle and examiner Jeremy Casey were recognized Wednesday for achieving the highest percentage of organ donors of any Division of Motor Vehicles office in the state. Photo by Kellen Moore

Originally published: 2013-05-02 19:18:22
Last modified: 2013-05-02 19:19:50

Boone DMV achieves highest organ donor rate in state

For the third year in a row, Boone's Division of Motor Vehicles office has achieved the highest organ donor designation rate for the entire state.

In 2012, the Boone office registered 72.5 percent of all licensees as organ donors, setting a new state record and exceeding the state average of 50.2 percent, said Katie Paulson, grants program administrator for Donate Life North Carolina.

"Boone has continued to meet and exceed the average since we started the program back in 2010," Paulson said. "It's very remarkable."

The office -- which includes chief examiner Craig Lyons and examiners Jeremy Casey and Eddie Taylor -- also surpassed its donor registry rates for the last two years. In 2011, 69.6 percent of licensees signed up to be organ donors, an increase from the 68 percent who did so in 2010.

Paulson and other representatives from Donate Life presented the office staff with a trophy, plaque and breakfast treats Wednesday in recognition of their efforts.

Lyons, who has worked at the DMV for 21 years, was quick to pass along the praise to residents of Watauga County.

"I say this every year: It's nothing that we do. It's the people in the community," Lyons said. "We're just doing what we're told. ... Everybody that comes through here, they get asked."

Reggie Kyle, DMV district supervisor, joked that the office needs only one more year as champion before it's "bigger than ASU football."

"They are a great group," Kyle said. "This is one of the best offices in the state, if not the best."

Drivers who register as organ donors receive a red heart designation on their licenses. If they should die, medical professionals determine whether their organs, eyes or tissue could be donated to one of nearly 3,500 people in North Carolina waiting to receive a transplant as of late April.

Donate Life DMV ambassador Judi Bryant said many people have fears or misunderstandings about what's involved in organ donation. She said many think their organs are "too worn out" to be useful, but the organization has had successful donors as old as 90.

"There's a lot of myth that I have to overcome," Bryant said.