Auburn Police detectives bonded for life after kidney donation

Two Auburn Police detectives have returned to work after one donated his kidney to the other.

"God works in mysterious ways," said Detective Damon Hewin. "I end up at Auburn Police Department knowing that someday I’m going to need a kidney transplant, and the guy who donates a kidney to me is right around the corner and has been here the whole time."

Detective Hewin is an Army veteran who served our country for 11 years including two tours in Iraq. He first learned he was at stage three kidney failure back in 2010, and by 2019 his doctors said it was time to get on the list for a kidney donor. 

Hewin started dialysis back in November 2020, and that was right around the time he decided to reach out to Donor Outreach for Veterans (DOVE). DOVE serves as a matchmaker to connect altruistic kidney donors to veterans in need.

Little did Hewin know, the person who would turn out to be his best match was another detective in the Auburn Police Department.

"I had no clue, it was DOVE’s campaign from New Jersey that I first saw on social media, I saw the campaign, and I was like what the heck this guy that works down the hall from me is sick and in need," said Detective Jon Postawa. "In my view, it really wasn’t that big of a deal. It was an easy decision. Selfishly, kidney donors live longer than the average population. I get to give somebody life or help them get back what they were losing because of that disease."

Sharyn Kreitzer is the Director and CEO of DOVE and said 54 people came forward including Postawa after seeing Hewin’s campaign. Two additional people qualified to be living donors, and now two other veterans have received kidney transplants.

"I’ve seen a lot of vets, this tendency, I know they want to put their head down. They would be the first to offer their kidney to help someone else, but the last to ask for it," said Kreitzer. 

"Don’t suffer in silence, speak up, ask for help. There’s lots of people out there who want to help you," said Det. Hewin. "I’ve already told this guy I love you, I appreciate your selfless thing that you’ve done. You’ve given my family a great gift."

There are more than 1,600 veterans who are waiting for a kidney transplant, according to Kreitzer.

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