Elkhart family meets the man who received their son's heart six years ago

ELKHART, Ind. - Six years ago, 21-year-old Justin Dean was involved in a tragic car crash and declared brain dead, at which point, the Elkhart native’s father, Frank, made the challenging decision to let his son live on through others, and donate his organs.

Frank Dean stated, “There’s nothing else that we could do to save his life but I was able to help someone live on. So, that’s when I decided to give his organs and do what I could to at least help someone else.”

In total, Dean’s gifts saved the lives of six people, one of them being Alan Homsher, a Crawfordsville man who required a lifesaving heart transplant in 2017.

Saturday, Dean’s family met with Homsher in-person for the first time, and heard Justin’s heart beat as strong as ever.

After years of correspondence through letters and more recently Facebook messenger, the group gathered at the Dean family home in Elkhart with gifts to share as a way of remembering the sacrifice that Justin made.

Angie Hartman, an aftercare coordinator with Indiana donor network, said, “Donors, save lives. Justin saved five lives and that is an amazing thing we have living proof today you know Alan being here being living and breathing and living his life it’s amazing. And these families, both sides. They are so thankful to know that for their family, that their loved one is living on and doing amazing things after death. And then for the recipient they're thankful that they are alive, and they’ve been giving the gift of life.”

Homsher, as well as several members of the Dean family, each put together personalized notes about the importance of organ donation and how it’s saved the lives of so many.

Each note was tied to a balloon and released into the sky as a message to Justin Dean that his courage is not forgotten and his heart beats on.

And through all of the emotion from this meeting, Homsher had one final message for Justin, "I want to thank him from the bottom of his heart.”

Sunday marks day number one of national donate life month, and each member of the Dean family encourages people to sign up to be an organ donor, so that everyone can be a hero, just like Justin.

You can find out more information online with the Indiana donor network.

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