It has been two years since her son’s death. As Barb Weist speaks, her voice quiet and measured, her eyes slowly grow wet. He was neither young nor old. It was the loss of a man in his prime, a life richly tied to community and family.
A volunteer firefighter, Charles Weist, Jr. had spent his adult life helping others. That ethos did not end with his life in the fatal auto accident that claimed his life July 12, 2016. Weist was an organ donor.
Two years is not enough to assuage the grief of losing a child. But his final act of helping others brings comfort, Barb says.
“It had been on his driver’s license to be a donor for a long time,” Barb recounts.
Barb hands a packet of paper across the desk to read. Inside, the pages recount over 20 peoples lives altered because of bone, tissue and corneas from Charles. More than 20 people who live across the country have lives physically altered because of a decision he made to donate whatever parts of his body might help another.
“He was a very giving person, true to the end,” she says simply.
Charles sister, Brenda Taylor, sitting to her mother’s right, echoes the sentiment.
“It was easier to take his passing because he was always there to help others,” Brenda says somberly. “…It is amazing that he could help so many people after his passing.”
“To think of all the people he helped in all of the states is kind of overwhelming,” Barb states. The slight tremor in her voice betrays not just the grief in her heart, but also the admiration she continues to feel for her son. His choice has left a continuing legacy of altruism.
“It makes such a difference in peoples lives,” Brenda adds.
For the complete article, please see the May 17, 2018 issue of the Fennimore Times. Part 2 of DONORS will run May 24, 2018.