The Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) Deputy Registrar Barnesville location was awarded Donate Life Ohio's 2016 "Organ, Tissue and Eye Donation Front Line Award." on Monday, April 17 by Lifeline of Ohio.

The Barnesville Deputy Registrar location received the "Most Improved in District 2" award for achieving an increase of 2.88 percent in the donor registration rate between 2015 and 2016 an increase from 51.50 percent to 54.40 percent.

Lauren Stevens, Community Outreach/Partnership Coordinator at Lifeline of Ohio, presented the award Monday, noting that the Barnesville BMV had received the same award in 2013.

Stevens said that as owner of the Banresville BMV, the Barnesville Area Chamber of Commerce played an integral part in its success.

"These are the kind of rewards that make it worthwhile to keep the BMV here," said Chamber President Bill Steedle.

Nick Frost, BMV District Chief said that with the planned closures of other BMVs in Belmont County, it is very important that people can come to Barnesville to have where the staff is familiar and successful with organ donor registration.

"It's nice to know that the overflow will go somewhere where they can answer questions and help people with organ donor registration," Frost said.

Three people were on hand Monday who know exactly how important it is to be a registered organ donor. Zane and Carole Watchel's son died 13 years ago at the age of 34. He registered to be an organ donor at his local BMV and because of that, the lives of five people were saved through the donation of not just his internal organs, but also his bones, skin and tissue. The Watchels even maintain contact with one of those recipients.

"It helps provided comfort to know he lives on in those people," Zane Watchel said.

Tracy Reifer was the recipient of a liver and has gone on to participate in the American Transplant games as a runner. She will be participating in the World Transplant Games this year.

"This award is as much a commendation of the generosity and compassion of the citizens of Barnesville and Belmont County as it is to the outstanding commitment of the BMV Deputy Registrar location that serves them," said Lifeline of Ohio Media and Public Relations Coordinator Jessica Petersen.

The award presentation coincides with National Donate Life Month, an opportunity to raise awareness about organ and tissue donation and the lives saved by donors. Thanks to the generosity of donors, in the United States, more than 33,000 people received a second chance at life though transplantation in 2016. However, nearly 120,000 nationwide are currently waiting for a life-saving transplant. Because of this disparity, 22 men, women and children, die each day in the United States for lack of an available organ.

About the Front Line Awards: The 2016 "Organ, Tissue and Eye Donation Front Line Awards" are presented to BMV Deputy Registrar locations in the State of Ohio with the highest donor registration rates or greatest improvement in people saying "yes" to donation by registering their name in the Ohio Donor Registry. BMV Deputy Registrar workers have the responsibility to ensure every unregistered or first time license or state identification card applicant is asked: "Would you like to register as an organ, eye and tissue donor?" Lifeline of Ohio is coordinating this award on behalf of Donate Life Ohio, representing all of the organ, tissue and eye recovery agencies in the state of Ohio.

About Lifeline of Ohio: An independent, non-profit organization, Lifeline of Ohio promotes and coordinates the donation of human organs and tissue for transplantation. Lifeline of Ohio serves 72 hospitals in 37 counties in Ohio and two in West Virginia and is designated as an organ procurement organization through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.