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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...




Just One More Thing to Do

By Shelly Herber
Jan. 17, 2010

In May 1999, Dad entered the hospital for a heart valve procedure, only to sustain a debilitating brain aneurysm that took his life within three days. How could it be that our 64-year-old father and grandfather was taken from us? Only one month earlier he and Mom had celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary.

Between the surgery and his final passing, machines were all that kept Dad’s body alive. There was no brain activity.

Once friends and family had said their farewells, our immediate family gathered around Dad’s bed with Mom, my sister, Lisa Hampton, and her husband, Doug. When we nodded to the hospital staff acknowledging that we were prepared to leave, a donor transplant coordinator arrived. She asked about the possibility of an organ donation.

We were exhausted, and none of us felt like making such a monumental decision. We stood silently for a moment until Lisa said, “What about Vince?”

The previous day a family friend, Barry Laing, had come to pray for Dad and had mentioned that his father-in-law, Vince DiManto, was losing his battle with a diseased liver. Our families had attended Bethel Church in San Jose, Calif., together since the 1970s.

The coordinator explained that the transplant approval process was highly complex, and that it was not possible to simply give a liver to a friend.

“If it isn’t Vince,” I responded, “then we’re going home. We’re just too tired.”

We soon found that Vince was on a donor list, but had little chance of surgery due to his age. While answering questions about Dad until 1 a.m., one question was about recent travels. When we mentioned Dad’s missions trips to Vietnam, Cambodia and India, the coordinator explained that Dad’s blood would probably be tainted. But the approval process continued.

The next day our family returned to Dad’s bedside, already grieving at the impending decision to turn off his life support. But there was some good news when we learned that Dad and Vince had the same blood type, and that Dad’s was “as pure as a newborn baby.” The coordinator said this was unheard of.

As we continued our bedside vigil, we received an unusual phone call from a friend of Vince. She relayed a story about a church service three months earlier when a visiting minister told her that a man who was a friend of hers “who owned a garage” was going to be healed. She thought of Vince, owner of “Vince’s Garage,” and began to pray for a miracle. With this news, we anxiously waited to see what God was going to do.

When I asked a nurse how the arrangements were developing, she told me that there was a great deal that had to occur before a transplant could happen, but the list was now down to less than two pages.

“Hundreds of people are praying now,” I told her, “so I think it just might work out.”

The nurse smiled and said, “We will see.”

Soon the coordinator arrived, asking what Vince looked like. Doug looked at Dad and told the coordinator that Dad and Vince looked enough alike to be brothers, except that one was Sicilian and the other Portuguese.

“Good,” she said, “a liver adapts to the size of a person’s body, so their body sizes need to be similar.”

At about 3 that afternoon she returned with the news that Dad had been accepted as a donor. Vince and his wife, Grace, were making the one-hour drive to San Francisco for the transplant. They did not yet know the donor was their friend, Harold Herber.

At 4, we said our final goodbye and went home. Family and friends were gathered. At 8 we received a call from a van en route to San Francisco with Dad’s healthy liver. There was only one concern: Dad’s main aorta was not in the normal spot. But later the phone rang with the news that Vince also had an “unusual aorta entry.” The liver was a perfect match!

The next morning the DiMantos were told who their donor was.

Ten years have passed. Vince has had no trouble with his liver.

When I think back to those difficult days, I remember something else from my years growing up.

Dad was a businessman. He loved to help people who were in great need, and he partnered with God on many projects. Dad used the success of his business as an outreach to others and to spread the gospel.

Often, even on a very busy day, Dad would find “just one more thing to do.” Sometimes it would be while we waited for him in the family car.

“I can’t go yet,” he’d say. “I have just one more thing to do.”

Seeing Dad in that hospital bed with no hope of recovery, we found new hope in that simple remark. Dad and God were at work together one last time. Vince DiManto is living proof of that last partnership.


SHELLY HERBER lives in Scotts Valley, Calif.

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