Community development coordinator Kelli Luckett is marking a milestone anniversary with Indiana Donor Network. She’s celebrating 20 years with the organization and giving thanks to the passionate volunteers who fill each day with meaning.
“At the end of the day, we’re all here for the same mission, and being able to spend time with them has been the most rewarding part,” says Kelli. “They’ve really become part of my family.”
That sense of family has been with Kelli since the start of her journey with Indiana Donor Network. In fact, if it wasn’t for her mom, Lucy, she may never have found her way to the organization.
Lucy joined Indiana Donor Network, then known as Indiana Organ Procurement Organization, in 1993. She started out managing the Fort Wayne office before transitioning to aftercare, where she wrote letters to the families of donor heroes.
“It was one of those things where I knew the importance of what my mom did, but I didn’t understand the magnitude of it until I started working here,” says Kelli.
She began helping her mom one day a week and eventually transitioned to a full-time position.
Lucy says Kelli fit right in. “She enjoyed people. With her social work degree, she enjoys helping others, so I think she felt that same call to support the donor families and transplant recipients.”
Lucy and Kelli spent nine years working together. Mother and daughter agree they made a great team.
“We’ve always been close, so I enjoyed being able to see her on a daily basis,” says Kelli. “I don’t think many people could do that, but for us, working side-by-side worked really well.”
“We have a good relationship, a good friendship,” adds Lucy. “For us, it was no problem at all.”
Working together was an added perk to what Lucy calls the most rewarding job she ever had. “You think of your donor families. They get up in the morning just like you do, and by nightfall, their life has changed forever. I enjoyed the relationship I built with them. I felt like I was making an impact on their lives.”
The way Kelli describes it, the feeling was mutual. “We still have volunteers that know her. They’ll say ‘Make sure you share this with your mom!’”
Kelli also finds herself sharing how much Indiana Donor Network has grown.
When Lucy retired in 2009, she was the organization’s first official retiree. She remembers a time when there were 25 to 50 employees. Today, Indiana Donor Network has more than 200 staff members. With that growth comes expanded outreach and education programs.
“It shows we’re going in the right direction, with how much more education we’re doing and how many more families we’re serving,” says Kelli, who now oversees more than 300 advocates across the state.
As she celebrates 20 years with the organization, she sees how time has changed them, as well. “Maybe when they first started, they were quiet. But volunteering has helped them, especially through the grief process. We have a few who have been around since the first volunteer class. That’s really special to see.” For more information about Indiana Donor Network’s advocate program, please contact Kelli Luckett at kluckett@INDonorNetwork.org.
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