A Lifetime of Honor and Service11/16/2018
U.S. Army veteran Michael Russell – affectionately known as Mickey – believed his purpose in life was to help others. His mission was to serve, in life and death.
Mickey had just completed the hiring process with the Scottsdale Police Department. He passed away unexpectedly due to a blood clot in the summer of 2017. A year prior, he wrote a letter explaining his wish to be a donor, “so that I can continue to serve even in death.”
Stephanie Russell, Mickey’s mother, says she is proud of her son who cared so much for others. His generosity and promise to continue serving restored vision for two people. His donated tissue healed the lives of countless others. Mickey might be gone, but he is not forgotten.
“My son was my heart,” Stephanie told FOX 10 Phoenix. “Me and my son did everything together.”
She honors and continues Mickey’s legacy every day, recently with the help of Joey Gase, a NASCAR Xfinity driver. He visited Arizona to race at ISM Raceway Nov. 10 and 11. Gase, whose own mother saved and healed 66 lives through the gifts of donation, honored Mickey with a photo on his race car.
Meanwhile, Catholic Charities MANA House, a peer-run organization of homeless and formerly homeless veterans offering resources, community and advocacy for all veterans, also celebrated Mickey. Gase brought the number 35 donation race car and veterans from MANA House signed their names and wrote encouraging messages on the hood.
Donation shows us how we can all be heroes. In Mickey’s memory, we celebrate the power we all have to serve and change someone’s life through organ, tissue and cornea donation.