Huntington Beach man's final ride will be in the Rose Parade

Orange County Register | Theresa Walker

Jean Zech works on the finishing touches of a floragraph of a portrait of her husband, Tom Zech, who died at 54 in 2013, he was a big supporter of Donate Life, the organ and tissue donor registry. Tom Zech has been chosen to be honored at the 2016 Rose Parade as one of the floragraphs that will be featured on the Donate Life float. ED CRISOSTOMO, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Tom Zech is all set for his next ride to raise awareness about organ donation.

An avid off-roader, Zech twice crossed the country on behalf of the group A Ride Across America, taking turns with a team of volunteers aboard all-terrain vehicles to draw attention to recipients on waiting lists and the need for donors.

The trip he’ll make New Year’s Day is much shorter but more high profile – down Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena for the Rose Parade.

The Huntington Beach man will be honored on the Donate Life float in the Tournament of Roses with his image on a floragraph, a portrait made from plant-based materials.

It will be a bittersweet moment for family and friends who plan to be in the stands.

Zech died unexpectedly at 54 from a severe asthma attack in September 2013. As he desired, his organs and tissues were harvested – to the benefit of dozens of people.

He became a dedicated supporter of organ donation in the late 1990s after a relative benefited from a kidney transplant. Continue reading