Department of Vehicle Regulation Commissioner Matt Cole Wins National Lifesaver Award

Innovative Kentucky leader recognized for commitment to organ and tissue donation

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (April 22, 2022) – Donate Life KY today announced Kentucky Transportation Cabinet official Matt Cole has been nationally recognized for his efforts to raise awareness and save lives through organ donation. Cole was awarded the Donate Life America (DLA) Lifesaver Award for the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) – Region II. He also earned the National Lifesaver Award at the AAMVA Annual International Conference (AIC). Cole received the award as a result of the positive changes he has brought to the mission of organ and tissue donation in Kentucky.

Cole is Commissioner of the Department of Vehicle Regulation, the Kentucky state agency that oversees multiple vehicle-related services, including driver licensing. Cole has served on the Board of Directors for the Kentucky Circuit Court Clerks’ Trust For Life – an organization that helps comprise Donate Life KY – for five years and has held and participated in countless events to raise awareness about the mission of donation. 

With the transition of driver’s licenses from the Circuit Clerks’ office to the Transportation Cabinet, Cole has helped incorporate the Donate Life mission into the new regional offices and online technology. His expertise and assistance with SB30, signed by Gov. Beshear in March 2022, will allow the expansion of the Kentucky Organ Donor Registry through the online car tag renewal system.

Cole has been personally inspired by the mission of donation through the community members who have given and received the gift of life.

“Commissioner Cole is a humble, positive, and dedicated leader. We would not see the consistent increase in the organ donor registry without his support for this mission of organ, eye, and tissue donation,” said Shelley Snyder, Executive Director of Donate Life Kentucky. “Thanks to his unwavering commitment, more lives will be saved through the miracle of transplantation.”

The Donate Life America Lifesaver Award recognizes driver’s license partners who demonstrate exceptional commitment to their role in saving lives through donation. Driver’s license partners can nominate their peers for their inspiring work and dedication to increasing donor registrations. DLA and AAMVA judges considered award nominations by AAMVA Region (1-4). One Regional winner will be awarded at each 2022 AAMVA Regional Conference, with one national winner selected from the AAMVA regional award winners. The national winner, Commissioner Cole, will be recognized at the 2022 AAMVA AIC.

“Matt cares deeply about the people of Kentucky and the Donate Life mission,” said Jim Gray, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Secretary. “He is always making decisions to better our community, and this award reflects his commitment to helping others.”

April is National Donate Life Month, a month-long celebration recognizing the commitment and impact of volunteers, driver’s license office partners, hospitals, and others impacted by donation and transplantation. The number of organ transplants in the United States has increased every year for the past 10 years, and Kentucky once again accomplished groundbreaking increases in donation and transplantation in 2021.

“These achievements simply would not have been possible if it weren’t for Commissioner Cole’s hard work, dedication, strong leadership, and excellent support from his hardworking team members,” said Snyder.

Today, more than 2 million Kentuckians are registered as organ donors; however, 1,000 Kentuckians still need lifesaving transplants. In the United States, 20 people die waiting for an organ transplant each day because there are not enough registered donors. For more information or to become a donor, go to

About Donate Life KY:

Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates (KODA) is an organ procurement organization whose mission is to provide organs and tissues to those in need while maintaining a profound respect for those who gave. The mission of Kentucky Circuit Clerks’ Trust For Life (TFL) is to educate and encourage Kentuckians to register as organ and tissue donors while obtaining a driver’s license and beyond. These organizations partner in education and outreach and use the combined, national Donate Life brand; learn more at