Fallen Conway officer's heart gives life

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Bittersweet is the best way to sum up Tanya and Harold McGary's Sunday. The two are proud parents of fallen Conway officer William McGary, who was killed by a driver while patrolling an accident in January 2013.

"It's William's heart," Tanya said. "His big loving heart."

McGary was an organ donor when he died. In November, his family met the recipient of one of his kidneys, and Sunday they met the other—Charles Connor, who was laying in the hospital in need of a heart transplant.

STORY: Transplant recipient meets fallen officer's family at emotional event

"I was watching the news that Friday night in my hospital bed," Connor said, recalling when he heard the news about McGary's accident. "That was the first night I heard his name."

That was also the time a second chance came for Connor. Out of McGary's passing, came a new heart for Connor who was suffering from congestive heart failure. He was in the hospital on the priority list for a donor.

"I was dying," said Connor, surrounded by his family.

That's when Connor went into surgery to place McGary's heart in his chest. Thirteen successful biopsies later, Connor awoke with a new beating heart, but he didn't know whose it was.

"I had an idea [whose heart it was], but I didn't know until two weeks ago," said Connor.

More than a year with his new heart and memories of watching the news in his hospital bed came flooding back to Connor.

"It was emotional, very emotional because a life was given up to save mine," he said.

That's why Connor's family and the McGarys met for the first time on Sunday, so they could share a special bond that only William's donated heart could provide.

"It was great," Connor continued. "They need to know he lives in me, you know. It was wonderful."

"Mr. Connor allowed us to listen to Will's heart," said William's mother Tanya. "It's amazing; God is amazing. It was like an overwhelming feeling—almost like that big hug feeling that you get that Will used to give me. It was that kind of feeling."

William will be honored in a memorial in Washington D.C. in May. Thirteen officers from the Conway Police Department are expected to make the trip.


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