Waterloo man donates organs, tissue to help save dozens of lives

February 14 is National Organ Donor Day.
A Waterloo, Neb. man is credited with saving 74 lives through organ and tissue donation.
Published: Feb. 14, 2023 at 4:41 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - February 14th doesn’t just celebrate Valentine’s Day; it also marks National Organ Donor Day. It’s dedicated to spreading awareness and education about organ, eye and tissue donation.

Waterloo resident Tim Petersen was a family man. His daughters remember him most for his cooking, his music skills and his sense of humor.

“Oh [man,] these were top-notch dad jokes,” says his daughter, Seraea Crandall.

The Navy veteran owned his own Cajun-style food truck and loved to cook up something new.

“Just being like this really awesome Grandpa and hanging out and wanting everyone to spend the night and Sunday dinners,” says his daughter, Tanya Limbach.

In November 2021 came the unexpected. Tim was killed in a motorcycle accident at the age of 52.

“It’s a terrible feeling when you lose someone suddenly like that, compared to when you know they’re sick and their time is coming and you can prepare yourself like that, compared to just, gone,” says Crandall.

But upon his passing, his family learned he was a registered organ donor.

“It was a happy cry, as weird as that sounds to some people. It was a happy cry because we knew that in a way he was living on,” says Crandall.

His impact has been widespread. His donations have been able to help 74 people in 27 different states.

“As I always say it’s 74 silver linings out there walking around because of his donation. Because of him, I became a donor,” says Crandall.

Through the Rally for Life 5K, they’ve been able to connect with other donor families.

Now they’re encouraging others to make the same choice Tim made.

“Check the box, it’s very easy and it helps other people live on,” says Limbach.

Anyone age 16 or older can register as an organ and tissue donor.

Donor registration is available online at Live on Nebraska.