Fallen Police Officer's Family Able to Hear His Heart Beat in Transplant Recipient

William McGary Saves Charles Connor's Life With Heart Transplant
Officer William McGary
Conway Police Department

updated 03/26/2014 at 12:40 PM EDT

originally published 03/24/2014 05:00PM

Arkansas police officer William McGary was able to save another life, even after he was killed by a drunk driver.

His heart was transplanted into Charles Connor over a year ago. On Sunday, McGary's family was able to hear his heart beat again, in the chest of the man whose life he saved, reports Little Rock ABC affiliate KATV.

Connor first heard McGary's name on Feb. 1, 2013, watching the news from his hospital bed. He learned that McGary had been killed by an intoxicated driver while directing traffic around an accident, but at the time, Connor had no idea McGary would end up saving his life.

Connor received McGary's heart during a lengthy transplant procedure the day after he died, but didn't find out who saved his life until about two weeks ago. Then, this week, McGary's family visited Connor and was able to listen to his heart beat inside Connor with the use of a stethoscope.

"Will had life, and a smile and all of that when he was born," Tanya McGary, William's mother, told KATV. "So the next best thing is hearing his heart."

"A life was given up to save mine," Connor said. "People need to know that donors save lives … I want to try to take care of this heart the best that I can."

McGary's family and about a dozen of his fellow officers will travel to Washington, D.C., in May when his name is inscribed on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.

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