DONATE LIFE ROSE PARADE FLOAT -OAK PARK ORGAN DONOR HONORED ON "NEW LIFE" FLOAT
Source: Ventura County Star
A likeness of Kevin Pryor will be among images on the tail of a phoenix in the Rose Parade on Friday.
The likeness of an Oak Park native who died shortly after fighting the 2008 Humboldt fire will be one of 76 images on the tail of a phoenix in the 121st Rose Parade on Friday, New Year’s Day.
The float — named “New Life Rises” and featuring the mythical bird rising from fire — is being constructed with flowers by hundreds of organ-donor families, recipients and organ-transplant advocates from across the United States.
The rising phoenix represents donors who, in their dying, renew lives through organ transplantation.
One is the late Kevin Pryor, an Oak Park High School graduate and Newport Beach firefighter who donated his heart, liver, kidneys, lungs, pancreas, tissue and corneas.
Pryor, 31, was found paralyzed in his Orange County apartment by friends after his fire company had arrived home from fighting the 23,344-acre Humboldt fire, which burned 87 residences and 167 outbuildings near Chico.
“He was up there for five days,” said his mother, Margaret Pryor. “What was kind of nice is that Humboldt is where he started his career. He was looking forward to fighting the fire with his buddies.
“He wanted to be a firefighter from the time he was a junior in high school. He loved fighting the wildland fires; he was very knowledgeable.”
He was rushed to the hospital by fire department colleagues. Doctors at the Western Medical Center in Santa Ana found Pryor had suffered a brain hemorrhage that left him without brain activity. His family allowed doctors to transplant life-giving organs from Pryor to seven people.
Margaret Pryor said she and other family members, including father Mark and brother Eric, took part in reproducing her son’s likeness on the Donate Life America float and will be watching the parade in person on New Year’s Day in Pasadena.
“We’ll be there,” she said. “It is an honor; we’re very proud that he will be on the float. We’re very proud but happy he was able to give life to others.
“He was an outdoor guy; he loved the outdoors. We miss him very much, but his spirit is still here with us wanting to make people’s lives better.”
The images on the float, called floragraphs, include a likeness of another Ventura County resident, the late Mitchell Thomas Schloesser of Camarillo.
In December 2006, at the age of 29 and while engaged to be married, he became an organ donor following an accident in which was declared brain-dead.
Millions of TV viewers are expected to see the float and its floragraphs on Friday.