Rick LaPensee of Van Buren Township, joined the U-M Transplant Program as a part-time transplant donation specialist in 2005. He had served as an EMT and firefighter for the Ypsilanti Fire Department for 14 years. The U-M job combined LaPensee’s passions: aviation and helping people. After obtaining an Associate’s Degree in fire science from Washtenaw Community College, LaPensee graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a Bachelor’s in public safety. He was pursuing a Master’s Degree in emergency management at EMU. LaPensee is survived by his wife of 23 years, Claudia, and two sons.