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Phoebe Presented with Donate Life Award

Albany, GA | March 2, 2022 – Lifelink of Georgia, in partnership with the Georgia Hospital Association, awarded the 2021 Barbara and John Ware Donate Life Hospital Award to Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital (PPMH) at the hospital’s board of directors monthly meeting Wednesday.  The award honors hospital partners committed to saving and enhancing lives through organ and tissue donation.  It is awarded annually to two hospitals within the LifeLink of Georgia service area.  Coffee Regional Medical Center in Douglas also earned the honor.

“We were honored to recognize Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital and Coffee Regional Medical Center through the Barbara and John Ware Donate Life Hospital Award,” said Katie Payne, LifeLink of Georgia Associate Executive Director.  “The efforts from these hospitals have directly affected organ and tissue donation throughout the state of Georgia, and more lives will be saved because of their outreach.”

Operational changes at PPMH resulted in a 400% increase in organ donors in 2021 over the previous year and a 175% increase in tissue donors.  “We never want potential organ donations to be an afterthought at Phoebe,” said Joe Austin, PPMH CEO.  “We instituted clinical process improvements, enhanced education and stronger communication to create standard operating procedures that keep our donation top of mind for our clinical teams.”

At Wednesday’s meeting, LifeLink Director of Professional Programs and Transplant Center Relations Kim Kottemann and LifeLink Hospital Development Liaison Danny Johnson presented the award.  Austin, as well as OR Nurse Educator Valerie Allen, Surgical Intensive Care Unit Nurse Manager Regina Barnes and Chaplaincy Director Rev. Will Runyon accepted the honor on behalf of Phoebe.  Austin said the program’s success cannot be credited simply to one champion but to the entire Phoebe team at every level of the organization.

“I appreciate everyone’s commitment to our donation program.  Our critical care team fully supported our efforts to bring renewed focus to organ donation.  Our physicians have shown extraordinary leadership, and they go out of their way to assist in the donation process.  Also, our chaplains work closely and compassionately with each family and lead Honor Walks and Donate Life flag-raising ceremonies that have been especially meaningful for the families of those donors,” Austin said.

The Donate Life award is named for a Georgia couple who were committed to raising awareness about the need for organ donation.  After U.S. Army veteran John Ware received a lifesaving kidney transplant, he and his wife worked to encourage others to register as organ donors.  Eight years after Mr. Ware’s transplant, Barbara Ware suffered a stroke, and her husband carried out her decision to become an organ donor.  Mr. Ware said knowing Mrs. Ware gave life to others in the same way he received life provides him with comfort and pride.

LifeLink of Georgia is a non-profit community service organization dedicated to the recovery of organs and tissues for transplantation.  It serves all of Georgia and two counties in South Carolina.  To register as an organ and tissue donor, visit

Photo (L-R): Joe Austin, PPMH CEO; Valerie Allen, Phoebe OR Nurse Educator; Regina Barnes, Phoebe SICU Nurse Manager; Rev. Will Runyon, Phoebe Director of Chaplaincy & Palliative Care; Danny Johnson, LifeLink Hospital Development Liaison; Kim Kottemann, LifeLink Director of Professional Programs & Transplant Center Relations