Over the past few months, Donate Life California partnered up with the California Department of Motor Vehicles to support the Donate Life Rose Parade as we honored 44 organ and tissue donors, on top of living donors and transplants recipients.
Donate Life California would like to thank the California DMV for their effort in these activities and their continued commitment to helping close the gap of those who are waiting for lifesaving transplants and those who able to receive them.
This year the Rose Parade selected the theme of “Making a Difference”. This fits in perfectly with the work of Donate Life California and our partnership with the California DMV. From, this the Donate Life Rose Parade Float selected the theme of the “Gift of Time”.
In November, we had almost forty DMV staff and their guests join us to decorate the Donate Life Rose Parade Float. They worked to begin covering the float with some of the thousands of flowers and even more seeds, spices, and other natural materials that would cover the float that was 55 feet long, 14 feet wide and 26 feet high.
Each year, Donate Life Californi honors a donor with ties to the DMV with a Floragraph on the float. This year, we honored Bonnie Walker, whose daughter, Tanya McClain, is the field office manager at the San Clemente office. Bonnie Walker served in the navy where she met her husband and raised four children in Southern California. In, 2003, Bonnie Walker passed away and was a cornea donor. All four of her children, now adults, were able to join us in honoring her at the Rose Parade and events surrounding it. Her Floragraph was placed on the Aztec calendar on the float, which Tanya and her son decorated earlier in the year. Learn more about this year’s honoree here.
Before the float was unveiled, leadership from the DMV, including Director Shimoto, many of the deputy directors and regional managers, joined the Donate Life California Board of Directors to place roses on the float in honor of California’s donors and those they personally knew. This is an annual event where Donate Life California can say thank you to the DMV and their leadership for continuing to support the Gift of Time and California’s organ & tissue donor registry.
After over 10,000 hours of volunteer work, including those of DMV staff, the float was ready to go.
When the float was unveiled at the judging event the emotions were heavy in the air as we saw all 44 floragraphs revealed including Donate Life California and the DMV’s honoree Bonnie Walker. The crowd cheered, and tears were shed.
On New Year’s Day, the float traveled down Colorado Blvd in Pasadena where it was announced it won the “Theme Award”, for being the float to best honor of the theme of “Making a Difference”.
This was Donate Life’s fifteenth year as a part of the Rose Parade and we wouldn’t be able to do it, or achieve our overall mission, without the support of DMV staff from all over the state.
Stay tuned for news about the 2019 Donate Life Rose Parade Float and continue to support us in our efforts to give the Gift of Time!
This year Donate Life California is continuing its tradition of sponsoring a floragraph on the Donate Life Rose Parade Float by honoring Bonnie Walker of El Cajon, California as an organ & tissue donor. On January 1st, 2018 during the 129th Rose Parade, Bonnie Walker will be one of 44 donors honored on the Donate Life float, The Gift of Time.
Born Bonnie Lee Kleindolph on February 6, 1940, in Muscatine, Iowa. She spent part of her childhood growing up in Iowa and part in Tucumcari, New Mexico. After high school, she enlisted in the United States Navy and was placed at the Dental Office at the Naval Station in San Diego.
In 1961, she married Robert Walker. At this time Bonnie left the Navy and they started their family. They spent a short time in Long Beach then settled down in El Cajon, California where they were married for 42 years and raised 5 children.
Her daughter Tanya McClain describes her more as “a very giving and unselfish parent who took great pride in being actively involved with all the school and extra-curricular activities us kids took part in.”
“Our mother loved to read and watch parades on TV. Every New Year’s Day we would watch the Rose Parade. The floats were her favorite and being on one would have ‘tickled her pink’ as she would say. ”
Bonnie was 63 when she passed away on June 1st, 2003 from cardiac arrest. She was able to donate her corneas which went to two different people. It’s wonderful that she was able to give the gift of sight to two precious recipients.
She is survived by her husband, Robert; 5 children, Tanya, Tammy, Sherina, Robert II and Kristina; brother, Roy; 4 grandchildren, Cody, Cole, Brianna and Tristan. Of course, now there are 3 more grandkids, Cheyenne, Connor and Emma and even 2 great grandkids, Zoe and Layla.
Each year Donate Life California honors a donor connected to the California Department of Motor Vehicles to say thank you for the support provided in registering organ and tissue donors around the state of California. In our eleven year partnership, we’ve been able to register over 14 million donors in the state of California. Tanya McClain, our honoree’s daughter, is the Manager of the San Clemente Field Office.
In October, Tanya and her son were able to decorate the Floragraph honoring her mother that will be included on this year’s float.
Kick off your new year right by joining Donate Life as we honor donors during the Rose Parade on January 1, 2018!
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