While much of the East Coast was paralyzed by the snow storms of late December/early January, one limousine driver in Pennsylvania braved the brutal conditions to drive three organ recovery specialists from Pittsburgh to Chambersburg to remove leg bones, ligaments, and tendons from a tissue donor.
Jeff Irvin, a driver for Pittsburgh Limousine Inc., drove a six-passenger Lincoln Town Car through a blizzard that had already dumped 30 inches of snow. The Pennsylvania Turnpike, which Irvin used for the trip, was closed at the time. Although Irvin had clearance from state police, the road had not received any attention because of the conditions.
Once Irvin reached Chambersburg, nearly 250 miles away, conditions were so fierce on local roads that the military was called in to transport the medical team to the hospital. Irvin rested at a nearby hotel until it was time for the return trip.
Irvin is being called a hero by many, including Patricia Kail, director of communications for Pittsburgh’s Center for Organ Recovery and Education, which is the organization that coordinated the last-second trip. “Jeff truly downplayed what he did, but because of him, the family’s last wishes for a loved one were carried out,” says Kail.
The experience is not one that Irvin will soon forget. “There was snow as high as my car and the road turned into a sheet of ice,” says Irvin. Despite the conditions and the attention he has received, Irvin continues to acknowledge the specialists as the real heroes. “They’re the ones,” he said, “I don’t think about it. If I’m a hero, I guess I am.”