The Heart of a Ranger

Pause for a moment at the passing of Corporal Benjamin Kopp, an American soldier who died after being wounded in Afghanistan on July 18.

A member of the elite US Army Rangers, Kopp was evacuated first to Germany and then to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC. He was laid to rest with honor in Arlington National Cemetery on August 1st.

But that’s not the end of the story. Cpl. Kopp chose to be an organ donor. Had he passed away in Afghanistan, there would not have been an opportunity to recover his organs in time for them to be useful. Injured in the leg, Kopp lost so much blood that he went into cardiac arrest and then slipped into a coma. Despite doctors best efforts, he failed to regain consciousness and passed away in Washington DC.

And the woman who received his heart was actually a friend of a friend – she happened to be following the story on a website, and when Kopp’s desire to donate his organs was mentioned, she started the process to check into the possibility of an organ match. It was a million in one chance that just happened to hit.

And although Cpl. Kopp is gone, parts of him still live – including his heart.

“How can you have a better heart?” said a grateful Judy Meikle, 57, of Winnetka, Ill., who is recovering from the surgery. “I have the heart of a 21-year-old Army Ranger war hero beating in me.”


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