[written by Tommy Conroy]
Jenny’s father Jimmy and I met and worked as partners for an electrical contractor in NYC shortly after 9/11. As October was ending and Halloween approached, we were working in the Greenwich Village area of Manhattan. I needed to get a costume for my upcoming Halloween party and what better place?
Jimmy came in and bought some crazy teeth and I my costume. Our ribs hurt the next day from laughing at the fun we had at many taxi drivers’ expenses that day. We were split up shortly after that and went about our careers, but always kept in touch.
Then came a call that still chills.
In January of 2002, while walking to school, Jimmy’s wife Diana and their daughters Kristina (9) and Jennifer (6) were struck by an out of control car. Both Diana and Kristina would pass that same day, but Jennifer remained on life support. While Jimmy was at the hospital, he was informed that Jennifer had been pronounced "brain dead." They tested her again at 24 hours, then again at 48 hours to see if there had been any change. At the hospital, Jim had been spoken to about organ donation and he immediately knew it was something that had to be done; he and Diana had had many conversations about this type of situation and Jim knew it was a "must do" -- to give others the Gift of Life.
Although we’ve kept in touch all these years, I only very recently found out about Jimmy donating Jennifer’s organs. I guess Facebook does have its advantages…A few months ago Jimmy commented on a Face Book picture my wife posted from a walk I attended in Seaside Heights for Sam’s Spirit (Mike Mania’s donor). In his comment, he talked about his donating Jenny’s organs.
I called him and said, “Jimmy, I never knew that!”
He responded, “Well, it’s not something that you really talk about.”
That sealed the deal for this year’s charity! I told him “Oh, we’ll be talking about it alright.”
We are honored to recognize little Jenny Collentine and her family at this year’s event.
Thank you to Jimmy and his wife Barb for opening up to us and allowing us this privilege!