Josh is a greatly missed son, father and husband, brother, cousin and friend. He’s remembered as a fun-loving prankster with his “Hillbilly Bear” cartoon tattoo. He enjoyed hunting, fishing and making people laugh. His life ended in September of 2010 when he fell from a moving pickup truck and struck his head; but he left a legacy as both an organ donor and the inspiration for the Josh Rose Memorial Blood Drive at the Richmond Community Blood Center (CBC).
Richmond CBC hosted the first Josh Rose blood drive March 5, 2012, on what would have been Josh’s 35th birthday. More than two dozen family and friends gathered Tuesday for the second annual memorial drive, donating 22 units of blood and helping the branch reach 169 percent of its blood collection goal.
No one worked harder organizing the drive than Josh’s mother, Shirley Falcone. She recruited donors and sponsors, enlisting more than 17 local businesses to donate refreshments and door prizes.
After Josh’s death in 2010 she contacted the people whose lives were saved by the gifts of Josh’s heart, liver and kidneys. She met the heart transplant recipient and listened to Josh’s heart beating in his chest.
“I got an email from him today,” Shirley said of the heart recipient, who has a young family in Kentucky. “They’re going out again tonight. They celebrate March 5th as ‘Daddy’s heart’s birthday.’ Last year they had a cake and went out to dinner, and they’re doing it again.”
“He had a check-up in November,” said Shirley. “They told him everything is great. I loved hearing that.”
The Josh Rose Memorial Blood Drive was again a family birthday celebration, including hotdogs and a birthday cake. Bryson Rice was back to donate again this year, identifying himself as “Josh’s favorite cousin.” Bryson had a “Hillybilly Bear” cartoon, identical to Josh’s, tattooed on his chest, adding “9-4-2010,” the date of Josh’s death.
Josh’s older brother Mike was ill during last year’s memorial drive, but made sure to take vacation this year so he could be at the drive and donate. “Josh was always outgoing,” he said. “Always the clown of the group, always made people laugh. He was always hunting and fishing. He enjoyed life.”
Mike also got a special tattoo in memory of Josh, but his is the “Baby Huey” cartoon figure with Josh’s birthday (3-5-1977) and the date of his death. “It’s an inside joke,” said Mike. “Anybody that really knew Josh knew we called him ‘Huey,’ short for ‘Baby Huey.’ Our grandmother gave Josh that nickname.” “Because he was a little chunk,” Shirley added.
Life has moved forward for everyone. Josh’s widow, Tasha Scalf has remarried and has a new baby on the way. As last year, Josh’s good friend Barbara Driskill, aunt to Josh’s daughter, hurried to CBC after work to donate. Their continued support of the blood drive has become a commitment to keeping Josh’s memory alive.
“I don’t donate as often as I’d like to,” Barbara said. “It seems like I don’t have enough time sometimes. But things like this, you make the time, no matter what.”