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2nd Annual Spero Awards held at Old Capitol Inn, Jackson

Jackson, MS - The Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency (MORA) served as host for the 2nd annual Spero Awards presented by Donate Life Mississippi on Thursday, July 16th, 2015 at the Old Capitol Inn in downtown Jackson. The awards ceremony recognized hospital partners, medical professionals, corporate partners and donor ambassadors that work tirelessly in conjunction with MORA to promote organ, eye and tissue donation to ultimately save and improve lives.

A total of 17 Spero Awards were presented to individuals and organizations from areas throughout the state. The word Spero (Spā-rō) is Latin for “hope”. The title was chosen to reflect the hope that organ and tissue donation brings to those in need of a lifesaving organ or a life improving tissue transplant.

Additionally, ten medical facilities in the state received Hospital Excellence Awards in recognition of their achievement of national organ donation performance standards by attaining one or more of three set goals.

2015 Spero Award recipients

Ancillary or Healthcare Staff of the Year- U of M Medical Center Morgue Services, Jackson

Nurse Champion- Jonathan Depoyster, U of M Medical Center, Jackson

Advanced Practice Nurse of the Year- Beverly Spicer, U of M Medical Center, Jackson

Physician Champion- Dr. Michael Sanders, St. Dominic Hospital, Jackson

Most Supportive Hospital Administrator- David Putt, U of M Medical Center, Grenada

Most Supportive Hospital Leadership- Teresa Williams, St. Dominic Hospital, Jackson

Best Pre-Donor Management- U of M Medical Center, Jackson

Most Supportive Tissue Hospital- North Mississippi Medical Center-Iuka

Most Supportive Organ & Tissue Hospital- Singing River Hospital, Pascagoula

Most Supportive Mortuary Services-Greater Jackson Mortuary Services, Jackson

Most Supportive Coroner-Clayton Cobler, Lauderdale County

Faith Leader of the Year- Doris Whitaker, U of M Medical Center, Jackson

Volunteer of the Year-Tracy Bragg, Meridian

Donation Advocate- The Cartwright Family, St. Martin

Red Heart Award-Picayune Department of Public Safety Station

Corporate Partner of the Year-Quail Ridge Press, Brandon

Award of Distinction-Steve and Laura Gaskin, Aberdeen

The Mississippi Lions Eye Bank also presented the first Gift of Sight Award to North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo for their work in helping to facilitate sight saving corneal transplants.

Hospital Excellence Awards were awarded to 10 hospitals that have achieved national organ donation performance standards set by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

Hospitals receiving those awards were:

Anderson Regional Medical Center, Meridian

Forrest General Hospital, Hattiesburg

Hancock Medical Center, Bay St. Louis

Merit Health Central Mississippi, Jackson

Natchez Regional Medical Center, Natchez

North Mississippi Medical Center, Tupelo

Rush Foundation Hospital, Meridian

St. Dominic Hospital, Jackson

South Central Regional Medical Center, Laurel

University of Mississippi Medical Center-Jackson

Also recognized during the ceremony were 32 hospitals from across the state that have enrolled in the Mississippi Hospitals for Hope campaign that was developed to ensure that hospitals throughout the state provide support, resources and the information needed to participate in the national campaign. The Hospitals recognized for their participation in the state Hospitals for Hope campaign were:

Anderson Regional Medical Center

Anderson Regional Medical Center-South

Baptist Health Systems-Mississippi

Covington County Hospital

Delta Regional Medical Center

Field Memorial Community Hospital

Forrest General Hospital

Jefferson County Hospital

John C. Stennis Memorial Hospital

King’s Daughters Medical Center

Laird Hospital

Merit Health Biloxi

Merit Health Central Mississippi

Merit Health River Region

North Mississippi Medical Center

North Mississippi Medical Center-Iuka

North Mississippi Medical Center-Pontotoc

North Mississippi Medical Center-West Point

North Sunflower County Medical Center

Ocean Springs Hospital

OCH Regional Medical Center

Regency Hospital of Meridian

Rush Foundation Hospital

St. Dominic Jackson Memorial Hospital

Simpson General Hospital

Singing River Hospital

South Central Regional Medical Center

Southwest Mississippi Regional Medical Center

The Specialty Hospital of Meridian

University of Mississippi Medical Center

University of Mississippi Medical Center-Grenada

Winston Medical Center

A new patient is added to the national transplant waiting list every 10 minutes and an average of 22 people die each day awaiting a lifesaving transplant that never comes. In 2014, Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency recovered 198 organs for transplant from 61 donors. There were also 218 tissue donors. Currently there are nearly 1,500 Mississippians on the organ transplant waiting list with over 1,300 of those waiting on a kidney transplant. MORA wants everyone to know one organ donor can save eight lives and one tissue donor can save or improve the lives of 50 recipients or more. Join the 709,000+ Mississippians who are currently on the MS Donor Registry by registering as an organ, eye and tissue donor at

For more information on the MORA please go to



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