With a memorandum of understanding from the Porter County Commissioners at
their Tuesday meeting, County Coroner Chuck Harris entered an agreement with
New Life Generation, which is a non-profit organization that collects
donated human tissue for transplants.
New Life doesn’t collect organs for transplant, only skin, bone tissue,
ligaments, tendons and veins from the waist down that can assist in skin
grafting and both orthopedic and cardiovascular surgeries.
The agreement states that New Life will pay $300 to the coroner’s office for
each body that is transported to a funeral home that participates in the
donation program. About half of the counties in Indiana are in the same
agreement. The funeral home receives money as well which is why several in
Porter County already work with New Life.
Commissioner president John Evans owns two of those funeral homes, Edmonds
and Evans in Chesterton and Portage, so he abstained from voting on the
memorandum, but Carole Knoblock and Nancy Adams both voted yes to give it
the majority it needed to pass.
One of the biggest reasons Harris wanted the agreement with New Life is that
the organization’s approach to reaching families and asking if they want to
participate is not overly invasive. New Life will contact the family within
eight hours of receiving notice from the coroner’s office that a body has
entered the facility. After the initial contact, they will either send out a
representative or leave the family to grieve.
“If you don’t want to participate, you don’t have to,” Harris said. “They
will ask you only one time. Some groups won’t take no for an answer.”