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Airman who donated his organs is honored with spot on ‘Hero Wall’

NEW HERO – Letcher Circuit Clerk Mike Watts displays a photo of Airman Ethan W. Potter with Potter’s mother, Kimberly Hale, and his sister Nakeia Potter. Potter’s portrait will hang on the clerk’s office wall with other organ donors.

NEW HERO – Letcher Circuit Clerk Mike Watts displays a photo of Airman Ethan W. Potter with Potter’s mother, Kimberly Hale, and his sister Nakeia Potter. Potter’s portrait will hang on the clerk’s office wall with other organ donors.

The Letcher Circuit Clerk has added another name to the “Hero Wall,” a wall of portraits honoring organ donors here.

Clerk Mike Watts said Tuesday that Ethan Potter joined the wall as a donor.

“It is no secret that Ethan Potter was loved by anyone who knew him,” Watts said in a statement. “Ethan was a loving son, brother, and friend with a selfless heart who loved to bring smiles to people’s faces.”

Watt said Ethan had a passion for helping people and wanted to pursue his dreams of being a helper. He fulfilled his dreams when he signed up to be an Organ/Eye/Tissue Donor.

Ethan decided he would continue to serve others by joining the United States Air Force. He died June 22, 2020, at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana.

Ethan’s decision to sign up as an organ/eye/tissue donor allowed him to share the gift of sight with two people through cornea donation at the time of his death.

In 2020, nearly 60,000 names were added to the Kentucky Organ Donor Registry. Today, over 64 percent of Kentucky residents are registered organ donors.

Letcher County was last among Kentucky’s 120 counties in the percentage of organ donors when Watts took office. In 2020, Letcher County registered 576 residents to the Kentucky Organ Donor Registry and raised $1,730 for public education and awareness. This contributions are used to advocate for community members who are in need of life-saving organ transplants.

In addition to growing the registry and funding education, Letcher County supported the Satterwhite Patient Assistance Fund, a grant program that assists Kentucky transplant recipients who have fallen on financially difficult times. Circuit Court Clerks and their communities provided 65 organ transplant recipients financial assistance in 2020.

“2020 emphasized the value of life. Despite difficult circumstances, Letcher County has proven that hope is priceless. By registering as an organ donor, you are providing hope to our community,” Watts said.

Despite unique working conditions and limited contact, Letcher County has proven that dedication to the Trust For Life mission has a ripple effect. In 2020, the Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates, one of Trust For Life’s partners, saved over 500 lives through organ donation and 575 tissue donors healed thousands of lives with their gifts. This is a 30 percent increase in lives effected, relative to 2019.

Persons who want to join the Kentucky Organ Donor Registry can do so by visiting RegisterMe.org on the Internet, by toggling “organ donor” in the Health App on their Apple iPhone, or by signing up at their local Circuit Clerk’s office.

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