Family Donates Assault Victim’s Organs To Those In Need

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – A Watertown family is dealing with an unexpected loss. Forty-year-old Jeremy Buol lost his life Wednesday in a result of an assault late Saturday night. Buol was taken to a hospital in Watertown, and then transported to Sanford Health in Sioux Falls.

Like many families in this situation, Jeremy’s mom, brother and aunt followed him hoping for a miracle. But as the days passed– the outcome was clear — they were losing their loved one. While at the hospital, his family had an important choice to make, and that decision will change another family’s life forever.

“He was a jokester, playful, always pranking someone,” says Sandi Benthin descrbing her son, Jeremy.

When looking back at their time spent with Jeremy, his family remembers the laughter.

“One time he pretended to cut his finger off and had me freaking out pretty hard,” laughs his brother, Joel Stimson. “I called my mom at work, I’m pretty sure I was only 9.”

“He, in his 40 years, probably got 80 years of fun and shenanigans,” adds Benthin.

But, after spending the week in the hospital, and seeing how much love and support they’ve received, the family realized what Jeremy’s best quality was.

“A very big heart,” says Benthin. “He loved people.” 

Someone else is going to realize this, too. Jeremy’s family is donating his organs and the hospital has already found a recipient for that ‘very big heart.’

“It’s hard because you want to think that your child, husband, wife is still there but they’re not,” says Benthin. “It just gives you a peace of mind to know that someone else is going to live because of him.”

“I think it’s a miracle,” says Cary Wencil, the Hospital Liaison with Life Source. “First of all, a family would think of others in this great, great time of grief and shock, then to think that someone is going to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas this year because of this very special gift.”

Life Source says they receive 25,000 calls a year from hospitals looking for organs in Sioux Falls. But, typically they only have about 150 to give. 

“It’s been getting a little easier every day with me knowing these people are getting phone calls right now saying that they found a match for them,” says Benthin.

For the person on the receiving end, Jeremy’s family wants them to know the heart they’re getting is full. 

“He would do anything for anyone,” says Benthin. “He would give them the shirt off his back, even if it’s the only shirt he has left.”

“Someone said last night, and I just thought it was so meaningful, that Jeremy made even the worst day awesome,” adds Jeremy’s aunt, Samra Broderick. “I think that’s what he did for all of us.”

Benthin says the transplant surgery will take place at 2 a.m. Friday. Five people will be receiving his organs, including his heart, lungs, liver and two kidneys. The recipients range from 29 to 64 years old.

For more information on how to become an organ donor, visit the Life Source website.

The Codington County Sheriff’s Office and the Division of Criminal Investigation are investigating the assault.

Deputies were called to the South Fork Lounge in Watertown just before 1 a.m. Sunday morning. Arriving deputies arrested 28-year-old Jason Endres for simple assault on 40-year-old Jeremy Buol. Endres could be facing new charges. He bonded out Tuesday.

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