OWOSSO (WJRT) (12/27/17) - "He's walking, talking, breathing, living healthier because I chose to step up and donate," Traci Settlemyre said.
She didn't hesitate. Settlemyre said she finally had the opportunity to repay him, 16 years later.
"I remember it vividly," she said. "Our son had his tonsils and adnoids out and he's asthmatic. So you know, when he catches a cold or something, we've got to keep an eye on him."
Her son, Gordon Jr., was just 2 years old at the time. She called 911 for help and Troy Gorden was on the other line.
"I mean I'm home alone, I had nobody there with me and Troy was my link to being calm 'til my husband got there," Settlemyre said. "I mean if he wasn't calm, I mean and his demeanor wasn't there. You know what I mean? The connection, the connection meant a lot. It really did."
Settlemyre never forgot how much he cared.
Because she had been an EMT and her husband is a firefighter, they knew who Gorden was, but were never close. About a month ago, word got around he needed a kidney and she immediately got tested to see if she was a match. She found out a few weeks later that she was.
"It's just an unbelievable gift that all this came down. I always say divine intervention has put an angel in my life and that's what it all boils down to," Gorden said.
The two went into surgery two weeks ago. They're both home now, recovering well.
The new kidney means Gorden no longer has to undergo dialysis 3 days a week for 4 hours a day; and, he can come out of retirement.
"I was not ready to retire, not at all," Gorden said. "Sheriff Begole is going to hold a position for me; so hopefully in a maximum of 3 months, I'll be behind the radio again."
"It's a good feeling. I actually saved somebody's life," Settlemyer said.
"I's a second chance for me. So it's hard to describe it in words," Gorden added.
Both said over and over how grateful they are for Henry Ford Hospital's care. It's one of two facilities in the country that uses a robot to perform the surgery.