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State Honoree

Ryan Tripp


drew widespread attention to the need for organ and tissue donations by mowing the lawns of capitol buildings in all 50 states. While riding his lawn mower from Salt Lake City to Washington, D.C. in 1997 to raise funds for an infant needing a liver transplant, Ryan learned about the thousands of people nationwide who desperately need donor organs. “When I learned that there are 13 people each day who die while waiting for an organ transplant, I had to do something to help,” he explained. Ryan contacted the National Coalition for Organ and Tissue Donations, which helped raise funding. Corporate and private sponsors donated a motor home, a trailer and two new lawn mowers. Ryan mapped out a route that would enable him to reach every state capitol in just 69 days. At each stop, Ryan met with the state’s governor and members of the local press, encouraging people to give the “gift of life” by marking “yes” in their driver’s license donation box. Then, at the end of each press conference, Ryan mowed the front lawn of the capitol building. “Through the media, we were able to get our message out to a lot of people,” Ryan said. “We drove 19,000 miles to get to all the states. Even though it was hard to travel all those miles, it was worth it. I believe that somewhere out there lives were saved because someone heard the “Lawnmower Boy’s” message and decided to donate.”