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People Top 5
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PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- October 18, 1999
- Vol. 52
- No. 15
Jennifer Hammond's Grief Helps Inspire a Small Town to Be Big-Hearted About Signing Organ Pledge Cards
Sadly, it wasn't. That Aug. 17 the Montgomery County police officer was critically injured when his cruiser was struck by a truck. Seven days later, Filer was removed from life support, and his widow honored his wish by donating his organs. A 41-year-old mother of two received the liver; a 12-year-old boy received a kidney; a 38-year-old dad got the the other kidney; and a 56-year-old State Department employee received Mark's heart. "It is a reason for joy," says Jennifer Hammond, as she is known today, of the lives saved.
Now she wants to spread the gospel by helping to lead Laytonsville, a Norman Rockwell-like town of 101 households 50 miles north of Washington, D.C., in its drive to become the first community in America where every adult is a registered organ donor. Already, 55 families have signed pledge cards.
In the six years after Filer's death, Jennifer, now 33, lost a second husband, Chris Orsborne, in a 1997 motorcycle accident. (His injuries precluded organ donation.) Last June she married Ken Hammond, a computer specialist whom she had met at church. Though she is busy caring for their blended family of six—her three children are Colleen and Nicole Filer, ages 9 and 6, and Jacob Orsborne, 3—she remains devoted to promoting organ donation. "Mark was a true community police officer, willing to give his life for another," she says. "My heart is happy knowing that Mark is still giving."
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