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Local resident will get Rose Parade honors

01.01.2023: Due in part to the generosity of the Union County community, a local man who passed away in 2002 will be featured on the Donate Life float in tomorrow’s 134th Rose Parade.

Mark Wesley Pinckard, who was born on April 27, 1984, passed away on May 20, 2002, as a result of wounds he received in a terrible collision on U.S. Highway 167.

But because Mark’s kidneys, liver, corneas, and other tissues were donated, many lives were saved and even extended as a result of his untimely passing. The recipients included Caitlin Pendzinski, a now 24-year-old woman from the St. Louis region, according to earlier News-Times reporting. While Mark’s left kidney went to another woman who was 30 at the time, his corneas were donated to two young people, ages 19 and 21.

“On my family, it’s made a huge difference. Four-year-old child was the recipient of his kidney. Without his kidney, she wouldn’t have had a life. She had a congenital renal condition and, before to receiving Mark’s kidney, had never learnt to ride a bicycle, gone swimming, taken a regular bath, or eaten by mouth “According to Mark’s father Phil Pinckard. “She wouldn’t have the life she has now if she hadn’t received his kidney.”

When Mark Pinckard was chosen to be one of the 44 organ donors recognized in Donate Life’s Rose Parade float in October, his parents Rev. Phil and Jodie Pinckard spoke with the News-Times about the honor.

An outpouring of community support enabled the sponsorship of Mark’s floragraph, a portrait made with floral elements like flowers, as well as the travel costs of family members who wanted to attend the parade in Pasadena, California.

Mark’s florograph will be displayed on the “camera side” of the Donate Life float, according to Jeri Ratcliffe, who volunteers with Donate Life and the Union County Community Foundation alongside her husband Dr. John Ratcliffe.

In an email to the News-Times, Ratcliffe stated that the floragraph was “supported by the Union County Community Foundation via donations from friends in the El Dorado community.” The UCCF was heavily involved in the fundraising drive for the floragraph.

As one of just two donor/recipient couples on this year’s unique 20th Anniversary [Donate Life] float, Caitlin Pendzinski, one of the donation recipients, will ride next to Mark’s floragraph.

Ratcliffe claimed that she and her husband accompanied the Pinckards to Pasadena in order to accompany and support them as they attended the parade.

Tomorrow at 8 a.m. PT, 10 a.m. CST, the Rose Parade will start.

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