Oklahoma Man Honored On Rose Parade Float

Thursday, January 1st 2009, 4:41 pm
By: News On 6

By Rick Wells, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- An opportunity for new life in the New Year was the focus of a float in the Rose Parade in Pasadena on New Year's morning.  The float was sponsored by the Donate Life America organization and it was to carry the image of an Oklahoma tissue donor.  One family gathered to celebrate the New Year and the gift of new life.

Jo Mathews and her husband are watching, hoping for a glimpse of the Donate Life float, which is carrying the image of Jo's father Bud Collins.  The Donate Life people told her the float would be along about an hour into the parade.

"He was a member of the Inter-Tribal Indian Club of Tulsa," said Jo Mathews.

She said we may have all seen his face and just not known who he was.  His picture was on the Oklahoma Centennial Cup.

"America Wear come to Oklahoma and took over a thousand pictures of Oklahoma," said Jo Mathews.

One of the photos was of her dad dancing in a Pow Wow.  He was quite an artist, too.  He made many rings and bracelets and small bronzes.

He was a Korean War vet, a bull rider and Cherokee dancer, but the celebration on Thursday was for something he did on the day he died five years ago.

"He was a tissue donor that's why he was in the parade today," said Jo Mathews.

The parade was on three channels and Jo's family watched them all.

The float was there, but his picture was on the side away from the camera.  It was a disappointment, but there was also pride that her father was being honored for having given the gift of life to someone else.

"We found out  he saved the life of a three-year-old child by donating his bone marrow," said Jo Mathews.