Burlington boy honored with plaque who saved lives through organ donation

Published: May. 23, 2023 at 6:56 PM CDT
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BURLINGTON, Iowa (KWQC) - The Iowa Department of Transportation collaborates with Iowa Donor Network to identify plaque honorees in each community and collect their stories to inspire more Iowans to becoming donors.

On Tuesday they honored, Garrett Brockway, a ten-year-old boy from Burlington who was struck in the head from a fallen tree in 2013 and died from brain injuries.

The Iowa DOT and the Iowa Donor Network are honoring Garrett’s legacy by sharing his story on this plaque in hopes of inspiring others to become organ, eye and tissue donors.

”It’s an opportunity to honor a donor, donor family recipient or living donor and the gift they gave to save lives while also recognizing the partnership we have with the DMV’s.” Chief Development Officer for Iowa Donor Network, Julie Schneider said.

A special honor for a boy from Burlington who is now giving life to others. Garrett Brockway’s dad, Bruce said that his son was a giving person, it’s why Bruce and his wife made the decision to make Garrett a donor to help save the lives of many people.

“He was a generous young man,” Bruce Brockway said. “So we made the choice for him to be an organ donor and he helped 132 people across the United States and up into Canada, so it’s, he had a huge impact.”

Despite this tragedy, Bruce said its brought a sense of light knowing Garrett was able to help others live on.

“It’s brought a very bright light into our home during otherwise a very, very dark time,” Bruce Brockway said. “So, but to know that his gifts have gone on, you know, he’s, he’s helped people with their mobility and with their health and with their life and with their sight.”

Garretts mom, Tiffini said making their son a donor was an extremely important decision that’s already gone a long way.

“His heart saved a 14-year-old boy,” Tiffini Brockway said. “At the time who was, had been hospitalized for two years leading up to it. It was life or death for that child and as far as I know, he is now graduated and living a wonderful life.”

Now work is being done to keep Garrett’s memory and the memories of other donors alive.

“They contacted us,” Tiffini Brockway said. “Iowa Donor Network to see if we would be interested in having Garrett featured here within the Iowa Department of Motor Vehicles site here in West Burlington and we of course, we said absolutely, yes.”

Chief Development Officer for Iowa Donor Network Julie Schneider said there are many people waiting for transplants in the state and its their goal to honor those donating.

“With over 600 people waiting for transplant here in Iowa,” Schneider said. “Our goal is to honor those decisions and remember our loved ones that are donors and save lives through transplant.”

There are 103,000 people waiting for a life saving organ transplant through out the country and 673 of those are in Iowa.

You can go to www.iowadonornetwork.org where you get information about donation and transplantation as well as register to be a donor.