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A local firefighter who died responding to a call for help gave the gift of life to others through organ donation.

The life-saving gesture was not unusual for Harrisburg Bureau of Fire Lt. Dennis DeVoe. He was answering a call of duty he had answered thousands of times before, his wife, Amy DeVoe, said.

Gift of Life, the organization that worked with Denny DeVoe’s family in the organ donation, said he was an exemplary firefighter and, now, organ donor.

Along with the organ donations, body tissue from Denny DeVoe will be ready for use in the coming weeks in as many as 100 surgeries, according to Amy DeVoe.

“It’s remarkable to think about Denny being able to help a child who may be in a burn unit or knowing two people will wake up and see the sunrise tomorrow,” she added.

According to Donate Life Pennsylvania, a donation-funded initiative of the Gift of Life Donor Program, the Center for Organ Recovery and Education and the Pennsylvania departments of health and transportation, someone in the state dies every 18 hours waiting for an organ.

“It is truly amazing how heroic he was,” said Gift of Life spokeswoman Dwendy Johnson. She said more than 8,000 people are waiting for organs in Pennsylvania.

There are no words to express the sorrow this community feels for Lt. DeVoe’s loved ones at this time. No words do justice to the inexplicable loss of his life.

Lt. DeVoe and his family have ensured that future miracles will come true, likely for countless other families.

And it should inspire the community to consider organ donation, as well.

At times like these, we desperately want to do something to help ease the pain of a family who suffers from such a tragic loss.

But that's a pain we can't make go away.

What we can do, however, is follow the heroic example of Lt. DeVoe and serve others every day of our lives.

A good start? Check off that box on your driver’s license and let family members know — through a health care proxy document, ideally — that you would like to give life to others in your hour of death.

Like a certain hero we all admire, Lt. Dennis DeVoe.

Gift of Life promotes organ donation in several Atlantic states, including eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. For more information on organ donation and how to apply to become an organ donor, visit Gift of Life’s website at www.donors1.org.

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