Myrtle Beach organ donor to be honored in Rose Parade

The late brother of a Myrtle Beach city councilman will receive a unique honor for what he did to save the lives of others.

Keith Wallace's portrait will be seen around the world on New Year's Day, helping inspire millions of others to be as selfless as he was.

In life, Wallace was a star athlete, embarking on a career in golf course management after getting a degree from Horry Georgetown Technical College.

After his sudden death last year at age 25 from a brain aneurysm, Wallace's decision to be an organ and tissue donor turned him into a different kind of star, one who saved four lives and improved the lives of many more.

"The folks that are going to benefit from this, they could live another 50, 60 years with those organs," said city councilman Randal Wallace, Keith Wallace's brother.

A florograph, or floral portrait of Keith Wallace, will join those of 80 other deceased donors on the Donate Life float in the Rose Parade in Pasadena, California on New Year's Day.

Wednesday, Randal Wallace joined his parents and Keith's girlfriend in a ceremony to give the portrait its final touches, by gluing on a few last floral seeds.

While having the younger Wallace be honored in the Rose parade will not bring him back, his family members say it does allow others to get to know him in a new way.

"To have a chance to introduce him to people who would never have an opportunity to know him has been one thing that you take from all this," said Randal Wallace.

Volunteers in California are working tirelessly to prepare the Donate Life float.

Wallace becomes only the sixth South Carolinian to be recognized on the float, which has been an annual part of the parade since 2004.

Supporters of organ donation say they wish they could honor all donors in that way.

"They've done probably the best gift you could give at this time of giving and that's giving the gift of life," said Mark Johnson of LifePoint, an organ and tissue donation service for South Carolina.

Johnson says simply by registering to be an organ donor - something anyone can do online or at the Department of Motor Vehicles - Keith Wallace became a hero.

You can see the Rose Parade, starting at 11 a.m. on New Year's Day on WPDE.

The Donate Life float, which has the theme "Light up the World", will be the 15th entry, about 30 minutes into the parade.