News Search

Friendship stands strong when duty calls

  • Published
  • By Samantha Housman
  • 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
Two families here will share a life-changing event in August.

Robin Lawley, McConnell Base Exchange barber shop manager, will receive a liver transplant in August.

To her surprise, the donor is a longtime customer and friend, Charles Smith, 22nd Security Forces Squadron information and industrial security manager. The transplant will take place at the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.

"I thought we'd be lucky enough to receive a liver through the transplant list," said Master Sgt. Bryan Lawley, her husband is the jet section team leader with the 931st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron here. "I never thought someone like Chuck would do this at all."

Mrs. Lawley was depending on her brother to be a match but soon found he was not. Feeling her disappointment, Mr. Smith asked if she had ever thought about going outside the family for a donor. He also asked what her blood type was and discovered he was a match.

"At first, I couldn't believe what he had told me," said Mrs. Lawley. "I'm very grateful for Chuck coming forward and doing this for me and my family."

From surgery to recovery, Mrs. Lawley and Mr. Smith have a long process ahead of them.

Mr. Smith said he only feels anticipation and hopes it will turn out the way it is suppose to for them both.

Mrs. Lawley, however, has mixed feelings. She said she is scared one day and just wants it over with the next.

"Robin has shown great courage due to (Mr. Smith's) constant remarks like, 'Don't back out on me now.' I am completely and utterly in awe and thankful for his compassion and strength to stay the course," Sergeant Lawley said.

Mr. Smith said through it all he just wants to help a friend during her time of need.

"I've had a lot of people shake their heads asking why," Mr. Smith said. "I guess I'm just doing my part to make life better for someone else."