AUBURN, Wash. — Detectives Damon Hewin and Jon Postawa worked together for more than seven years at the Auburn Police Department but weren’t exactly close.
“It was kind of the ‘head-nod in passing’ kind of relationship,” Postawa said.
Then, in January, he saw a Facebook post.
“There’s Damon’s picture. I’m like, ‘What the heck. What’s this about?’ And I read what he’s going through, and nobody knew,” Postawa said.
“I was not talking about it at work,” Hewin said.
Hewin was keeping quiet about how his longtime kidney problems had progressed to needing a transplant.
His wife planned to donate, but COVID-19 derailed it.
“I didn’t feel comfortable going online or putting together some campaign asking someone to donate a kidney to me,” Hewin said.
That’s where the Donor Outreach for Veterans — DOVE Transplant — came in.
Hewin is an Army veteran, who signed up after 9/11.
“They are the first that would offer to donate their kidneys and the last to ask,” said DOVE Transplant founder Sharyn Kreitzer.
She started the nonprofit in 2020 after seeing veterans endure long waits for kidneys from living donors.
After Kreitzer launched the campaign for Hewin, 55 people reached out to donate, including Postawa.
“It was a no-brainer for me,” he said.
Postawa flew back to Walter Reed National Military Center to be approved to donate, then asked to stop by Hewin’s house with his wife.
“We got to tell Damon and his family that I was donating,” Postawa said.
“You got to see the happy tears from my wife, the joy in my kids’ eyes,” Hewin said.
The transplant happened July 15.
Both detectives are doing well and have become close friends.
“Obviously, I’m beyond thankful,” Hewin said.
Because of DOVE Transplant’s campaign for Hewin, another colleague in law enforcement also became a donor and gave her kidney to another veteran.
DOVE’s founder estimated there are at least 1,600 veterans needing kidney transplants, and the nonprofit’s mission is to find donors.
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