When NBAPS Superintendent Deb Henton stepped up to the podium to address the audience at the school board meeting Thursday night, she noted residents don’t always get to “hear the good things that happen in the community.”
What happened to retired North Branch Area Public Schools teacher Marlin Ness because of the generosity of former student and good friend Kevin Noyes was a good thing.
The board invited Ness, Noyes and Anne Peterson of American Donor Services to the meeting to share the story of donation between Noyes and Ness.
On June 1, 2012, Noyes donated one of his kidneys to Ness after finding out about a year prior that Ness was suffering from polycystic kidney disease.
Noyes has known Ness since third grade, ever since he and Ness’ son, Eric, became friends.
When Ness was asked to speak, he lauded Noyes for his donation.
“I’m doing just great,” he said. “I thank Kevin for the gift of life.”
He also joked that to make Noyes’ kidney feel at home in his body, Noyes told him that he’d have to drink a Coors Light — Noyes’ favorite beer — every once in a while.
That quip garnered a round a laughter from those in attendance.
As a result of his donation, Noyes was invited to walk with the Donate Life Float during the Rose Parade on New Year’s Day in Pasadena, Calif.
He told the School Board that being part of the Rose Parade was an amazing experience.
Noyes said he thinks of his donation as a “no big deal” type of thing, and it was simply the right thing to do.
“I was able to talk to a number of other living donors as we walked in our fine yellow sweatshirts, and a lot of them felt the same way (about donation),” he said.
Noyes said the float was adorned with 81 memorial “floragraphs,” or floral portraits. Each floragraph represented a donor who gave the gift of an organ, eye or tissue donation upon their death.
“It was bittersweet,” he said. “They were not able to be there, except in spirit.”
He called the trip the “experience of a lifetime,” and it made him realize even more the importance of organ and tissue donation.
“My job as a living donor is to now spread the word and see if people will step up and do the same thing,” Noyes said.
Other board actions
• Aaron Gibbons, a candidate in the last election, was appointed to the open School Board
seat that was vacated when Kim Salo resigned at the end of last year, and Kirby Ekstrom moved into her former post as board chairperson. The vote to accept Gibbons as the new board member passed by a 5-1 vote with Randy Westby casting the lone dissenting vote. Prior to Gibbons being appointed to the seat, Westby had nominated Bob Bernier, another candidate in the last election, but Westby was the only board member to vote for him.
• Tim MacMillan was named vice chair, and Linda Heidelberger treasurer. Jay Falk will remain board clerk.
• The ECM Post Review was selected as the legal newspaper for the district via a 5-1 vote. Westby voted for the Chisago County Press.
• It was noted in the board packet that North Branch Area Public Schools will make up the Jan. 7 weather cancellation on Monday, Feb. 24. It will be a typical, full-day schedule.