SAN ANTONIO - They lived their lives saving others but died tragically at young ages. Now, two San Antonio police officers who were killed in the line of duty continue to give life to others in need.
Officers Bobby Deckard and Miguel Moreno aren't alive anymore, but their presence was evident at the Donate Life ECHO event. Moreno saved four lives after donating his organs in July 2017. Officer Deckard also saved four lives after his donation in Dec. 2013.
Gene Dudley was one of the four lives saved by Officer Deckard's organ donation. Inside his chest is Bobby Deckard's heart. The Deckard family were overcome with emotion as they felt it beating, continuing the officer's legacy.
"To actually get to meet them, which was somewhat recent, just last fall, it's pretty amazing. I had no idea I was part of such a large story," Dudley said.
Meeting them was emotional for him, too.
"I always wondered what would they be like or what my donor was like. To finally know is an amazing thing, and it's very comforting knowing the full story now from beginning to end," said Dudley.
He's alive today because of Deckard and urges anyone considering being a donor to do the same.
"It really is an amazing thing for someone to do and such a selfless act," Dudley said.
"Last year in South Texas 170 families made the decision to donate organs. From that 568 men, women, and children are living today because of that powerful gift." Clarissa Thompson from the Texas organ sharing alliance added, "Currently more than 10,000 Texans are in need of a life-saving organ, and many more are in need of tissue and cornea transplants," Joseph Nespral, the CEO of the Texas Organ Sharing Alliance, said.
Lives can be saved through organ and tissue donation, but now only 51 percent of those in Texas and 54 percent of those in Bexar County are organ donors. That's why for the next two weeks all SAPD officers will be wearing lapel pins to bring awareness to the need for donors.
"ECHO stands for every community has opportunity, and it's a national initiative where we encourage diverse communities to sign up as organ and tissue donor's because there is a critical need," Thompson said.
"I would want to remember in the event of my passing as someone who gave back, and this is just an opportunity to do that," Dudley said.