Story as told by his mother, Jody

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Kevin was our youngest child and our only son. He had two sisters that he loved so much and always talked about with such pride. At the time of his passing he was the uncle of one nephew and a niece on the way.

Unfortunately, God called his niece home a little over two months after his passing; she was just one month away from joining our family. As unfortunate as it was, our family knows that Kevin was there to pick her up and snuggle her when she made it back to heaven. Kevin’s nephew was just two years old when Kevin passed, but they already shared such a special bond. Jeter loved his Uncle Kevin and it was so obvious. It was so cute how we couldn’t get kisses from Jeter, but his Uncle Kevin not only got kisses, he got the tightest hugs!

As I said, Kevin was our only son, so he was so happy when his oldest sister got married. The last year of his life Kevin moved down to North Carolina to live his dad and me. His sister and brother-in-law lived just a couple miles down the road and he became very close with his new “brother.” Although his other sister wasn’t married, he loved her boyfriend as if they were and also thought of him as family. Since his passing, God has blessed our family with a baby boy and a baby girl. There isn’t a doubt in our mind that Uncle Kevin met them before us and continues to watch over them.

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Kevin had a heart bigger than the universe. Paul McCartney once said, “You can judge a man's true character by the way he treats his fellow animals.Kevin loved animals, all animals, and he always tried to help if he saw one in distress. Even as an adult he would pull over while driving to help a turtle cross the street because he didn’t want it to get ran over by a car. Kevin loved nature and truly appreciated the beauty of it. He loved palm trees and at just ten years old he could tell you the name of any palm tree he saw. He loved spring the most because he loved to watch all the trees bloom.

Kevin moved down to North Carolina to live with us the last year of his life. It was May when he moved down here, so the following March was his first spring here. Although his Dad was working, Kevin just had to call him to tell him that the trees here were already blooming. He found beauty in the simple things and was fascinated with things that most take for granted.

One of the things our family will always remember about Kevin is how random he could be. His brother-in-law said he would get calls from Kevin while at work telling him about some big bird he saw while on his way to work, he would then describe it and ask if he knew what kind of bird it was. This is just one example of the many random calls we each received from Kevin.

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He was so smart too, not just smart from what he learned in school, but smart about even the most random things. He was so funny, always the entertainer! He loved to see others laugh, even when he wasn’t trying he was funny, it was just a part of who he was. He loved helping people, and he genuinely felt good when he could.

When Kevin was here in North Carolina, he volunteered for the “Make a Difference” food pantry. His dad volunteered on Thursdays for food distribution day and had Kevin go with him. Kevin loved helping so much that he volunteered daily with whatever needs they had. He helped on distribution day, delivered food to the seniors, delivered food to those in need who had no way to get to the pantry, cooked once a week at the Salvation Army for the Seniors, cooked and served the children during summer recess once a week, helped set up and deliver backpack buddies to the children on Fridays so the children had meals to eat over the weekend, he even went out into the fields and picked crops to distribute at the pantry.

He worked his paying job and the majority of his free time was spent volunteering. He said he felt better volunteering even though he didn’t get paid because the feeling he had helping others was worth more to him than the money. Kevin never judged others and was so understanding in situations that most people wouldn’t be. There just aren’t enough words or examples for me to truly express how huge his heart was.

Kevin passed away suddenly at the young age of 26. Within the last couple months of his life I recall a conversation we had. We were talking about organ donation and he mentioned to me that he wanted to be a donor. He asked me if I was and I told him yes, he then asked me how he could become one. I told him he could let the DMV know and they would put a heart symbol on his driver’s license. He took his license out of his wallet and was happy he had already let them know because he had the heart symbol. He said he wanted to help as many people as he could if he passed away.

On May 2nd, 2018, our family honored his wishes and signed the papers. He left this world doing what he loved best, helping others. A man in his 60’s received his left kidney, a woman in her 30’s received his right kidney, and they can now live a life without dialysis. A woman in her 70’s and a woman in her 80’s received his corneas and both can now live the remainder of their lives with better vision. We received a letter from a young lady who needed a medial meniscus transplant and she received Kevin’s, she can now enjoy the sports she once was unable to. These are just some of the people Kevin helped with his gift of organ, eye, and tissue donation.

Our family would like Kevin to be remembered for the loving, caring, giving, and funny person he was. To honor Kevin our family helps raise awareness of the gift others can give through organ, eye, and tissue donation. And finally, Kevin’s quote he always said was “Peace, Love, Woodstock!” That pretty much sums up who he was.

Do you know someone who has been touched by organ, eye or tissue donation?

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