LOS ANGELES-The winter holiday season is always a time of giving, but this year, two LASD deputies took this tradition to one of the highest and most personal levels.
In July, 2010, Deputy Kevin Ay began his patrol assignment at Lakewood Station and was put into the charge of Field Training Officer, Sergeant Darrin Offringa, then of deputy rank. The two men spent the next three months together getting Kevin prepared to face a variety of service calls and situations on his own. After completing training in December, 2010, Kevin was assigned to Darrin’s old beat, as he left the station for another assignment. The two men’s teacher-student relationship grew into a work partnership, and progressed into a personal friendship; despite working at different units, they remained in close contact.
In November, 2013, Kevin promoted to the position of Field Training Officer. Things were in line for him professionally, but his personal life was significantly challenged when he was diagnosed with renal failure that same month. After a short hospital stay and beginning regular dialysis treatment, Kevin returned to work in a light duty capacity. Darrin learned about Kevin’s diagnosis and checked on him regularly to see how he was feeling.
Kevin resumed his position in the field as a training officer. Darrin also returned to the field at Lakewood Station, and the two worked together again, now both as training officers. Since then, Darrin promoted to the rank of sergeant and is now assigned to Carson Sheriff’s Station.
The friends routinely met and discussed Kevin’s deteriorating condition. During one of those conversations, they discovered they shared the same blood type. Darrin felt emotionally pulled to help his friend, and without hesitation, asked to be considered as a donor. Kevin was initially hesitant and did not want to place any strain on Darrin and his family, but Darrin was insistent. Even though their teacher-student phase was in years past, Darrin extended his mentorship by demonstrating another level of human kindness, in the offering of a precious and valuable gift to sustain the health and life of another.
Darrin told Kevin he and his wife already discussed the possibility of donation and they were both prepared for it. With this, Kevin provided Darrin with the information and they moved forward with the process. Darrin submitted to a medical evaluation process, and was determined to be a suitable and compatible candidate for donation.
On Tuesday, November 29, 2016, Darrin courageously underwent a four-hour surgery to provide his friend with a life-saving gift: His left kidney. The donation was accepted and both he and Kevin are recovering.
In an interview, Kevin relayed how much he appreciated the gift which not only prolonged his life, but improved the quality of it. “I always considered Darrin as a mentor; now he’s my brother,” he said reverently.
When asked about his thoughts on the profoundness of his organ donation, Darrin modestly replied, “I’m just honored and humbled by the experience and to have helped a good friend.”
Although the two men already share a strong friendship, this act of compassion and humanitarianism solidified a deeper level of bond between them, and forever connects them. This is an especially meaningful gift, as it was selflessly shared during the season dedicated to good will toward men.