California Peace Officer Memorial Foundation
As you sit down to watch the 128th Tournament of Roses Parade® on Monday, January 2, 2017, keep a lookout for the Donate Life float. Nestled in the white waves – created with 1,000 white Akito roses – that carry the Polynesian catamaran, will be personalized notes dedicated in memory of specific individuals. Several of the names on the hand-written notes will be those of fallen California law enforcement officers.
On November 17, 2016, families of fallen California law enforcement officers attended a special Rose Dedication Ceremony honoring their loved ones’ service and sacrifice at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department STARS Center in Whittier. Following a brief ceremony, the families wrote special dedications to their fallen officers, which were later placed with white roses in the Rose Dedication Garden on the Donate Life Rose Parade float.
This annual Rose Dedication Ceremony is held to honor fallen California peace officers, thank their families, and acknowledge the important role law enforcement officers play in organ donation – regardless of whether they themselves were donors. The California Peace Officers’ Memorial Foundation and Donate Life California, the nonprofit, state-authorized organ, eye and tissue donor registry, have hosted the event since 2012. Each year, the dedications written by honored officers’ families during the ceremony are placed on the Donate Life float.
One officer with a hand-written dedication on the Donate Life float is Officer Shaun Diamond, of the Pomona Police Department. Despite exhaustive life-saving efforts, the 16-year law enforcement veteran and SWAT officer didn’t survive injuries sustained in the line of duty on October 29, 2014. His daughter, Margo Diamond, who spoke at the ceremony, said that, despite their grief, her family didn’t hesitate to consent to organ donation because they knew it’s what her father wanted. He had donated a kidney to his son, Kelly, years earlier when kidneys had failed as a result of a condition he’d had since birth.
“We know what it’s like to watch a loved one’s life hang in the balance waiting for an organ transplant,” said Margo, speaking from the podium. “Not everyone can be a living donor like my dad was, but everyone can register to be a donor after they’re gone to help people like my brother. Everyone has a Kelly Diamond.”
This year marks the 14th Donate Life Rose Parade float in the parade. Each year, the float showcases the life-saving importance of organ, eye and tissue donation, honors donors and their families, and recognizes all who make donation and transplant possible. The 2017 float, called Teammates in Life, the float reminds us that no one succeeds alone. We all thrive by working together and pulling in the same direction, as illustrated by the Polynesian catamaran featured on the float and propelled by a team of 24 organ, eye and tissue transplant recipients rowing in unison with strength gained from their donors. The sails of the vessel feature 60 floral portraits (floragraphs) of donors; living donors walk alongside the float carrying flowers in celebration of the life they have given to others; and the ocean waves showcase 1,000 white Akito roses, individually dedicated in memory of donors and fallen peace officers.
Edited for space. For full article please visit: http://donatelifecalifornia.org/fallen-heroes-to-be-honored-on-the-donate-life-float-in-the-rose-parade/