In Howard County alone, there are 16 people waiting for organ transplants. There are another 10 on the waiting list in Miami and Tipton counties, according to the organization.
Statewide, there are 1,480 people awaiting a transplant.
The Sexton’s advocacy efforts are what earned Jerry a spot on the float. The Indiana Organ Procurement Organization had to select one of its transplant recipients who also volunteered.
It was a hard decision to make because there are 700 volunteers, said Corinne Osinski-Carey, community relations coordinator for the organization.
But the Sextons log more than 100 volunteer hours every year.
When Osinski-Carey called Jerry to tell him the good news, he was shocked, she said.
“He was so excited that at first he didn’t even know what to say,” she said.
The Sextons left for California on Saturday. A group of well-wishers gathered at the airport to wish the couple luck.
While Jerry rides on the float, his wife will watch in the crowd.
“It’s kind of cool that she will be able to see him on the float through the gift she’s received,” Osinski-Carey said.
Lindsey Ziliak, Tribune Life & Style editor, can be reached at 765-454-8585, at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @LindseyZiliak.