January 7, 2016

Transplant highlights strong bond between police officers

For 17 years Sgt. Burrel “Chip” Davis has answered the call to help his community.

LaVergne police officers Chip Davis, second from left, and Eric Crowder, third from left, pray before their recent kidney transplant procedure with Crowder’s uncle, Mike Crowder, and aunt, Ethel Crowder. (photo by Joe Howell)

For 17 years Sgt. Burrel “Chip” Davis has answered the call to help his community.

In July, 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.

“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 a lifesaving kidney transplant from police officer Crowder at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Davis said the support he has received from his work family has been 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.”

Pennie Sanchez, R.N., works with Eric Crowder, left, and Chip Davis before last week’s kidney transplant procedure. (photo by Joe Howell)

Davis’ daughters are 10 and 4. Crowder could relate — his two daughters are 8 and 2.

Crowder, 32, and Davis, 40, have known 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.”