By Renee Haley, donor wife 

My husband Tim was tremendous. A tremendous athlete, husband, father and friend. He and I were married in 1998 and are the proud parents of three boys. Tim took his duty as father very seriously. He was their soccer coach, volunteered with their Boy Scout troop and worked nights so he could stay home with the boys during the day while I worked.

Tim was also an honored and decorated member of the Columbus Police Force. He joined the department when he was 21 years old and spent the next 21 years working in the Narcotics Division, the K-9 unit and was a CPD helicopter pilot. His final assignment was as a SWAT officer. He dutifully served the people of Columbus, loved his job and felt he was making a positive difference for the community.

Unexpectedly during a department training, Tim suffered a brain aneurysm. I remember getting the call while I was at a school conference. I wasn’t able to pick up the phone and no one left a voicemail. By the time I connected with someone they told me Tim had been injured and that they were sending a car to get me. I remember thinking, it couldn’t be that bad and that I could drive to the hospital myself. His boss told me to stay where I was and that someone was coming to get me.

His shadowbox dedication at the Lifeline of Ohio offices

I realized the severity of the situation when we arrived at the hospital and saw numerous police cruisers lining the front of the building. Doctors did everything they could to save him, but Tim never regained consciousness and was declared brain dead on August 26, 2008. That is his End Of Watch (EOW) date, as they say in the law enforcement world. He was 42 years old.

As my heart was breaking, I knew other families were receiving the beacon of hope they had been desperately waiting for. You see, my husband was a registered organ, eye and tissue donor and saved the lives of five people through organ donation and restored sight to two through cornea donation. In fact, one of his kidneys went to his aunt in Alabama who had been on dialysis for years. She is still alive and doing well!

One of the things my boys and I take from his untimely passing is to not be just takers, but to be givers. After seeing how Tim’s purposeful decision to be an organ donor brought hope out of tragedy, and to honor his final, generous, life-giving act, I made the decision to become a registered donor. I had always known he felt it was the right thing to do, however I had never signed up. He was such a generous man and his final act of donation proves that.

Our sons were young – 9, 7 and 4 when he passed – but they’ve grown to know what an incredible and loving man he was. Our first-born, now 18-year old son, made the decision to follow in his father’s footsteps and register as a donor. I am very, very proud of his decision. Won’t you be a part of his tremendous legacy and register today in honor of Tim?