Saturday, August 4, 2012

RickOHIO Revisited: DeWine's Earthly Mission

This is a web column written before blogs were blogs at  I wrote it in 1998 to piggyback on John Glenn's well-publicized return to space on the shuttle and advocate for organ donation.  Today, it marks 19 years since the passing of my friend, Becky DeWine, who's memory wasn't lost as her family helped it live on in many, many ways.  Becky's dad, Mike, is now Ohio's Attorney General.

DeWine's Earthly Mission

by RickOHIO

August 1998

Time magazine's cover story this week was about John Glenn's pending Shuttle mission. This October, Glenn will be shot at thousands of miles an hour into outer space. Glenn's mission is to relive his glory days. Time says he's a hero for that.

While Ohio's senior U.S. Senator is in outer space, Ohio's junior Senator will keep working for his constituents here on earth.

Thank heavens for Mike DeWine.

His mission started August 4, 1993.

Becky was a just-graduated 22 year old with a bright future before her. Smart. Fun. Attractive. Though, as a Congressman's daughter, she could have been arrogant, she didn't have a arrogant bone in her body. She just loved life.

She was driving home; going to prepare for a trip with her family to a Republican picnic in nearby Dayton. A light rain was falling on the winding road and Becky wasn't the best driver.

Fran, her mother, was at home with Becky's younger brothers and sisters. Her father was in Akron campaigning. The news came to them, no doubt, a million times harder than it could have come to anyone else. Their daughter was going to die.

Frantic efforts were made to save Becky. The head-on collision on a poorly-designed section of State Route 42 between Cedarville and Xenia was going to take her life. Nothing could be done.

It was August 4, 1993 when God took Becky DeWine.

That was the day, too, that Mike DeWine's earthly mission was begun. The DeWines made the tough decision to donate Becky's organs. Somebody would benefit from their tremendous tragedy. Some good thing could come from such awfulness.

After much soul-searching, Mike and Fran decided to stay in the race and rallied back to claim the spot in the U.S. Senate that they had worked toward, and earned, since Becky was a baby.

Publicity and public recognition don't come easy to an otherwise unassuming family man from rural roots. Mike DeWine wasn't springboarded to the U.S. Senate. He earned his way there.

In the five years since Becky's death, he has made it his personal mission to honor his daughter by using his important position to fight to make organ donation more common. For it, he's his daughter's hero from heaven. He's doing "what Becky would have wanted" him to do.

Here's what Mike DeWine says about his mission:

Why do I call attention to the issue of Organ and Tissue Donation? I do it because of a tragedy. The tragedy is that 7, 8, 9, in some weeks 10, of our fellow citizens die, because there aren't enough organs available. They don't die because medical science can't save them--medical science can save them. They die waiting on a list, waiting for an organ to become available.

What can you or I do about this? Raise awareness.

Talk to your family and loved ones about donation, like I have. As we talk about organ and tissue donation, we can encourage families around the kitchen table to talk about it. This is one of the few times when the mere talking about an issue actually will, in fact, make a difference.
A hero is someone who acts without selfishness.

Time magazine won't grant any hero status to Ohio's junior Senator though. But he's the Ohio Senator that deserves it.

The only thing selfish anyone could ever claim about Mike DeWine's mission is that he does it to ease his pain.

While the news media hypes up John Glenn's mission in space, let's hope that some small amount of attention could be granted to Mike DeWine's mission here on earth. Please consider organ donation.

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