Donna Wilson has to be one of the most impressive people I’ve ever met.
A friend of ours in Macon recently gave his kidney to his daughter, who suffered from kidney disease. That was special.
Donna is giving her kidney so that a young man she hasn’t even met yet will have a new lease on life. That is incredible.
But not totally surprising. I knew Donna was a giving person. For many months she voluntarily took the Reporters to the Culloden post office for us on Wednesday mornings so that our subscribers there could get their papers delivered that day. And Donna doesn’t do generous things for the attention. I had to text and call her multiple times to hunt her down so we could interview her for the story about her kidney donation. She just loves kids and wanted to help. See the story about it on the front page.
Donna is quick to joke, however, that giving her kidney is not her most generous act. No, that would be allowing her husband and two of her children to work in law enforcement. Most readers remember that Donna’s husband Jeff was wounded responding to a suicide call in 2014. His fellow deputy Michael Norris was killed responding to that call. A bloodied Wilson ignored his own wounds that fateful night to slap handcuffs on the killer as backup arrived.
Jeff and Donna Wilson remind us that we have some pretty darn special neighbors here in Monroe County.
And the teenager who will be getting a kidney, Amari “A.J.” Jefferson, is pretty special too. The young man played on my son’s rec ball team a few years ago and was already showing signs of talent on the court, even overcoming my medicore coaching talents.
Last year as his kidneys declined and he endured regular dialysis, he still refused to miss practices or games with the Mary Persons football team.
Donna, whose daughter plays basketball for MP, said she can’t wait to see A.J. with his new kidney get back on the court.
Next Thursday, Aug. 15, thanks to Donna, A.J. is scheduled to get that new kidney. The following day, Friday, Donna will be giving one of her kidneys to a donor pair to complete the circle.
Donna’s sacrifice reminds me of the Man who said “it is more blessed to give than to receive,” and then demonstrated that truth by giving his life for every human who ever lived. I hope everyone who reads this column will take time next Thursday and Friday to pray to that One. Ask Him to give Donna and A.J., and their doctors, great favor and success. I think the Author of this story is quite pleased; it’s a reminder His spirit is alive and at work in Monroe County.
There’s another chance to give this Saturday, Aug. 10, at the Hotcakes for Hatcher supper at Forsyth UMC. Another MP student that I coached at the rec department, Hatcher Davis, is fighting a brave battle with muscular dystrophy. His family needs our help.
Meanwhile, word reached our office as we went to press that a Mary Persons junior ended his life at home on Tuesday morning. The young man had apparently sent messages to friends thanking them for their friendship before shooting himself. Tears were shed across Monroe County as the news spread. There are no good answers when such tragedy strikes. We can only ask ourselves what we can do to reach out to young people in a world that is too often indifferent and cold. The actions of Jeff and Donna Wilson, and the friends of Hatcher, are pretty good guides to how Monroe Countians can reach out to neighbors and friends and bring good out of the tragedies of this life.