For 17 years Sgt. Burrel “Chip” Davis answered the call to help his community.
In July 2015, he learned that he needed a kidney transplant and would need to rely on the generosity of others in order to survive.
Accustomed to assisting the public as an officer with the LaVergne Police Department, Davis was uncomfortable reaching out for help. Thankfully his wife, Kelly, did not hesitate.
She posted a letter on her Facebook page in hopes of finding a kidney for her husband. Remarkably, one of Davis’ fellow LaVergne Police officers became Davis’ kidney donor.
“I didn’t know how to ask someone to make that kind of sacrifice for me,” said Davis. “I had always been the one helping others. I wasn’t used to being on the receiving end. I was thrilled when Eric (Crowder) asked me about getting tested,” said Davis, of one of his fellow officers.
“But in the back of my mind, the likelihood of him being a match was a long shot. But things kept progressing. He continued to move along in the process. We were actually together in the office when he found out he was a match.”
On Dec. 29, 2015, Davis received his lifesaving kidney transplant from Crowder at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Davis said the support he received from his work family was extraordinary.
“We are all so close. There was always someone asking about how things were going and pushing me to press on. There were days when I was really tired and didn’t feel like moving forward. But they were there to help me through it.
“And Eric is giving me that chance, that opportunity to achieve my ultimate goal — I want to be able to walk my two girls down the aisle when they get married.”
Davis’ daughters were 10 and 4. Crowder could relate — his two daughters were 8 and 2.
Crowder, then 32, and Davis, then 40, knew each other for nearly a decade. Crowder did not hesitate to begin the evaluation process when he discovered his friend needed help.
“We have gotten really close over the years,” said Crowder. “In law enforcement, we always look out for each other. We are each other’s family away from home.
“A lot of people stepped up to be tested. It really shows the level of commitment we have for each other.”
Crowder hopes that others will take notice of their story.
“It’s interesting,” he reflected. “I was always that person, when I renewed my license, who said ‘no’ to wanting to be an organ donor. But when it hits close to home, it was easy to stop being selfish. I hope others will be encouraged to do the same.”