Organ Donation Awareness and Education Event
2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016
Join CORE (Center for Organ Recovery & Education) and heart recipient Gene Wolbert at Stephen R. Haky Funeral Home in Uniontown to learn more about the life-saving and life-enhancing benefits of organ, tissue and cornea donation.
The Center for Organ Recovery & Education (CORE) is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting donation, education and research for the purpose of saving lives and improving the quality of life through organ, tissue and corneal transplantation.
About Gene Wolbert
Veteran CORE volunteer Gene Wolbert, 75, has taken CORE’s lifesaving mission to heart—literally. Year-to-date, the Fairchance, PA native and heart recipient has registered 347 new donors. He says that working to register new donors is his way of honoring his heart donor, a 41-year-old woman from Iowa.
Simply put, Gene’s hard work is working—the number of designations from Fayette County has increased every month between January 2011 and December 2015, rising a total of nearly 4% during that period.
Gene has earned many volunteer awards from CORE. He was the 2015 and 2016 CORE Designation Champion—an award is given to the individual who has gone above and beyond to give hope to the more than 121,000 people on the National Transplant Waiting List. In 2015, he volunteered 140 hours with CORE and so far in 2016 he’s volunteered close to 100 hours—but those are only the hours that CORE knows about. It’s likely his actual service hours are closer to three times as many. That said, he doesn’t limit his volunteering to events—he literally asks every person he meets, every day, if they are an organ donor—the pizza man, the gas station attendant, the woman with whom he rides an elevator. If they aren’t, he asks them, “Why not?” and takes the conversation from there.
Earlier this year, Gene was awarded the 2015 Presidential Volunteer Service Award, a tremendous honor that truly sets him apart from his fellow 500 CORE volunteers. In recognition, he received a certificate, letter and pin from United States President Barack Obama. Even though he does not seek recognition, his example is a powerful message that encourages others to take action—for that reason, CORE continues to publicly honor him.
Gene volunteers on behalf of CORE about four days every week and he has three CORE shirts that he wears nearly every day. Gene says that if you see him around town, he’s usually wearing a CORE shirt!
Gene also heads up CORE’s Fayette/Greene Counties Volunteer Team and acts as the CORE Uniontown DMV Ambassador. He recently entered into a partnership with Uniontown Hospital to hold donor drive tables there every other Monday. At the first donor drive, he registered 13 new donors in only two hours. Events that Gene attends every year include the Fayette County Fair, the Uniontown Italian Festival and many AHN flag raising ceremonies for National Donate Life Month.
Gene spent his career working as a drinking water supervisor for the DEP. He received a heart transplant on August 24, 2008 at AGH after spending more than two years on the National Transplant Waiting List. When he’s not collecting new donor designations, Gene tends to his garden and spends time with his two children, three grandchildren, two great-grandchildren and beloved wife Shirley—to whom he’s been married for 50 years!