By all accounts, Jacob Krebs, 18, of Harper, Texas, was not an ordinary teenager. His accomplishments reflect a life of service to his family, community and country.
Krebs earned six palms as an Eagle Scout. He was a member of the school Junior ROTC, president of the Doss 4-H Club, served as the school’s mascot, was a member of the school marching band, and was a two-time UIL state cross country runner.
Since childhood, he dreamed of becoming a Navy Seal. Even before graduating from high school, Krebs had already enlisted and was preparing to ship out with the U.S. Navy just two weeks after his high school graduation.
In order to realize his dream of becoming a Seal, Krebs worked out to prepare for the physical screening test. While working on the swimming portion and holding his breath under water, something went terribly wrong. He lost consciousness while under water.
Krebs never regained consciousness. He was air-lifted to University Hospital in San Antonio where he was put on a respirator and other machines to keep him alive while doctors tried to save him. While his lungs and other organs recovered, he did not. Krebs died on April 1, 2013, as a result of this tragic accident.
Because of his belief in the importance of helping others, he registered to be an organ, tissue and eye donor when he got his driver’s license.
Despite this horrific tragedy, Krebs saved or enhanced 50 lives through the gift of tissue donation. As an organ donor, he saved the lives of four individuals. As a cornea donor, he gave the gift of sight to one person.
His story was selected and sponsored by Bacterin International Holdings, Inc., a tissue bank accredited by the American Association of Tissue Banks, to be included on the 2015 Donate Life Rose Parade Float on New Year’s Day. Bacterin has acted as the steward of his donation, ensuring that his dream of helping others is fulfilled. The theme of this year’s float is “The Never-Ending Story,” which provides the powerful message of saving and enhancing lives through the gift of organ and tissue donation.
The Donate Life float will feature floragraphs, which are floral memorial portraits, of individuals from across the United States. Each floragraph represents an honoree who gave the gift of donation after his or her death.
Allograft Resources, which is part of The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, and Bacterin are hosting the official unveiling of Jacob Krebs’ floragraph memorial portrait at 10 a.m. Friday, Dec. 12, in the gym at Harper High School, 250 N. School Street, in Harper, Texas. (Harper is located 23 miles west of Fredericksburg on U.S. Highway 290 in Gillespie County. It is about 76 miles northwest of San Antonio.)
At the event, his parents, Will and Mary Krebs, and sister, Julie, will add the finishing touches to the floragraph, which will then travel to Pasadena, Calif., where it will be placed on the 2015 Donate Life Rose Parade Float.
The university’s Allograft Resources supports local and national tissue donation. The organization also offers bereavement services, such as support groups and memorial events, to donor families and the general public.
“As we celebrate this young man’s life, we believe his story can be an inspiration to others to make the decision to register as organ, tissue and cornea donors. Registering as a donor is a decision made now that saves and enhances the lives of others at the end of yours,” said Michelle Ramirez, bereavement coordinator for Allograft Resources.
The Donate Life Texas organ donor registry started in 2006 and celebrated its 5 millionth registration in early 2014, making it among the fastest growing registries in the country. More than 123,000 patients are on the national waiting list in need of an organ transplant. Of that number,12,000 are Texans. Signing up is fast and easy at DonateLifeTexas.org and provides a way for individuals to make their wish to be an organ, eye and tissue donor known. Individuals also can register to donate when they renew their driver’s license.
The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, one of the country’s leading health sciences universities, ranks in the top 13 percent of academic institutions receiving National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding. The university’s schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry, health professions and graduate biomedical sciences have produced more than 31,000 graduates. The $787.7 million operating budget supports eight campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. For more information on the many ways “We make lives better®,” visit www.uthscsa.edu.