For three years, Rising Sun Mayor Travis Marion has encouraged organ donation in memory of family friend Ben Larsen.
The mayor has designated the month of September as Organ Donation Awareness month. There are banners hanging at town hall reading "Donate Life: Organ Donation Saves Lives." The street lights are also green as a reminder.
Ben Larsen, 17, died September 20, 2012, in a motorcycle accident. Larsen, of Conowingo, was riding his Suzuki along Red Toad Road when a vehicle pulled into his path. He was flown to Shock Trauma and remained on life support for 10 hours. His organs were donated, saving the lives of many others.
On Thursday, the mayor came face to face with a resident who is alive due to a donated organ.
Aaron Rouselle, 31, formerly of Perryville, who moved to Rising Sun earlier this year, received a donated liver a year ago this month.
Rouselle, a gifted athlete, who had also coached Crossfit, was treated for penile cancer.
A short while after it was determined that he was cancer free, his liver inexplicably failed. He received the donor liver. He has spent the past year regaining his health and taking college classes in social work.
Rouselle contacted the mayor on social media to ask about the town's organ donation efforts. "I saw the green lights when I was out catching Pokemon. I asked the mayor why the green lights and signs," said Rouselle.
"I was really excited. You don't see much in Cecil County about Donate Life," said Rouselle. He volunteers with Living Legacy Foundation, which promotes organ and tissue donation. "And I preach about donation whenever I can," he said.
The mayor and Rouselle met face to face for the first time last Thursday. "We've done it (promoted organ donation) since 2014. This is why we do it. I think 18 people die waiting for an organ. The biggest thing is getting the word out there," said Mayor Marion.
The mayor said at least 40 people have enrolled to be organ donors since the town started promoting it.
Rouselle told the mayor about his specific condition - how two people had to die so he can live, the donor and the person occupying the high tech specialty medical equipment which Rouselle was in line to use.
"People have to grieve faster (for a recipient to receive a donor organ)," said Rouselle.
There are tentative plans for Rising Sun to host a Donate Life benefit run next year. Rouselle wants to help with the planning.
"I've never been on the receiving end (met someone who received an organ donation). And to see someone in such good shape, It's amazing to see. Sometimes you take life for granted," said Marion.
"It does make you appreciate things," said Rouselle.
Anyone who wants to learn more about organ donation may pick up a pamphlet, bracelet, or donor registration at town hall. You may also register to be an organ donor at the Motor Vehicle Administration