There's a saying in the Marine Corps: "Never leave a Marine behind."
Marine Sgt. Bryan Weber proved the statement true Feb. 9 when he donated one of his kidneys to Marine veteran Dave Ford at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida.
Ford, 53, was told that he was going to need a new kidney in 2014 and had been on dialysis ever since. Ford said he searched social media, asked his network of friends, and even considered taking out a billboard and newspaper ad in his desperate search for a new kidney.
"I didn't want to burden my fellow Marines with letting me down if we couldn't find a match, so I didn't solicit the Marine Corps community for a donor," said Ford.
Ford, then a staff sergeant working as a supply administrator, said that he knew Weber from around the office, but they didn't socialize outside of work due to his frequent dialysis visits.
Weber learned about Ford's condition when his supervising staff noncommissioned officer, Gunnery Sgt. Jeremy Winkfield, told him that a fellow Marine whom he knew from Blount Island Command in Jacksonville was on dialysis, and needed a kidney.
"I said, 'Gunny, I'm the same blood type as Ford,' and so I reached out to the Mayo Clinic and after the tests, they confirmed I was a donor match," said Weber, who works as a comptroller and currently serves as fiscal chief at Blount Island Command. "We're all Marines, we look out for each other, it was just the right thing to do."
Weber, 22 is no stranger to doing the right thing. He is often called upon for funeral honors in the greater Jacksonville area. He refers to this duty as an honor and privilege that gives comfort to the families of fallen Marines.
Following the kidney transplant, Ford said he has improved significantly.
"I'm doing well now, my strength is back, I'm not sluggish, and the folks at the Mayo Clinic are outstanding," he said.
He gave a shout-out to God, his fellow Marines, and his friends and family for their support through the entire process.
Ford continues his service as a quality assurance specialist for the Marine Corps and looks forward to a long life thanks to Weber -- a Marine who truly understands what it's like to never leave another Marine behind.