HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) — The Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif., on New Year's Day will feature a float that will carry a floragraph — a tribute made with flowers and leaves about 14 inches in diameter resembling a photograph — dedicated to the memory of a Hagerstown teenager whose family donated his organs after he was killed in a car crash earlier this year.
Quinn Hoover, 17, died on March 18 after an early-morning accident near Clear Spring. A student at Washington County Technical High School, he was known for his outgoing personality and his prowess on the soccer field, his parents said.
The float, Journeys of the Heart, honors Quinn and 71 other organ, eye and tissue donors, whose organ donations helped other people live, according to the Living Legacy Foundation of Maryland, a nonprofit that facilitates organ donation.
Quinn's parents, Tom and Sonja Hoover, are being flown to Pasadena to help decorate the float and watch the parade. Earlier this month, they helped put the finishing touches to the floragraph at Hagerstown's St. Mark's Lutheran Church.
"It is going to be bitter-sweet, not really somewhere I want to be, but we are proud of the legacy he has left behind with organ donation and the difference he has made in our lives and the organ donation program in Maryland," Tom Hoover said.
He said that since Quinn's death, it has become a passion of the Hoover family to raise awareness of organ donation.
Sonja Hoover, Quinn's mother, said her family had been through a "roller-coaster of grief" since the March day when her son died.
"A child is not supposed to die before the parent," she said. "It is going to be bitter-sweet seeing him on the float."
Sonja Hoover said that she is gratified that the organs donated by her son helped save three lives.
"Just knowing that he did that helps with our grieving. He is still living and he is leaving a legacy," she said.
Information from: The Herald-Mail of Hagerstown, Md., http://www.herald-mail.com