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When Tennessee police officer Eric Crowder learned his friend and mentor, a sergeant at the police department where they work, needed a kidney, he didn’t think twice about getting tested.
And like a holiday miracle, he was a match. Crowder quickly offered to donate a kidney to Sgt. Chip Davis, and now the two men are recovering after Tuesday’s successful transplant surgery at Nashville’s Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Both men have two daughters who are around the same age and also friends, and Crowder’s wife, Devin Crowder, told TODAY that she and her husband just couldn’t imagine Davis’ girls growing up without their father.
“It was sad to think they could be without a parent,” she said.
Plus, it was Crowder’s turn to pay back a favor: Davis, 40, had helped him get the job at the La Vergne Police Department years earlier: “Chip is basically the reason he went to La Vergne,” Devin said. “He looks up to Chip as a mentor.”
Davis’ wife Kelly told TODAY they learned her husband had kidney failure in March 2014, after doctors ran blood work in response to his unusually high blood pressure. He was put on a waiting list for a kidney in July 2014, but told it could take three to five years. She was “in shock” when Crowder, 32, offered to donate his kidney a few months later.
“It was kind of hard to believe,” she said. “You hear about family members doing that, but as far as friends… it was overwhelming."
“It couldn’t have come at a better time,” she added. “Chip was starting to get fatigued all the time; he was definitely heading toward dialysis.”
As for the Crowders, it was an easy decision to make.
“Honestly, he’s in good health,” Devin said of her husband. “His family raised him to give the shirt off his back, and that’s how I was raised. So to us, it was: Are you healthy? Can you make it? Do you have any disease in your family background that could hinder you later in life? If not, let’s do this.”
Both men are still recovering in the hospital, but the surgery went well and they should be back to work in about eight weeks, their wives said.
The City of La Vergne Fire Department has been posting updates on its Facebook page, where it called Crowder and Davis "two truly awesome guys."