Anderson police officer to donate one of his kidneys to Vietnam veteran in need

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ANDERSON, Ind.-- Police officers are used to helping strangers, but the help they give usually isn't as serious as an organ transplant.

Last summer, Anderson Police Department Lieutenant John Branson struck up a conversation with Vietnam veteran Edgar Roberts at a restaurant.

"I walked through a Cracker Barrel and I'd seen a gentleman sitting by himself, who had a Vietnam marine hat on," said Branson.

The two shared a meal and talked about Branson's son, who was about to graduate from the Naval Academy.

They also discussed how Roberts, 70, is in need of a new kidney. He lost both of his to cancer and has been on dialysis for five years.

After hearing that, Branson decided to get tested. He was a perfect match.

"He called me up and said we was a perfect match and I was just just couldn't believe it," said Roberts.

Now, Branson is preparing to go under the knife to donate a kidney and save his new friend's life.

"If you can make an impact, a difference this huge in someone's life, you should be able to do that without fail- without question," said Branson.

That chance meeting in a Georgia Cracker Barrel turned into a lasting friendship and a life-saving gift.

"I just think God is just awesome," said Roberts. "I just think about what kind of person (Branson) is, what kind of man he is that would give me a kidney. He has to be a man of god."

Branson said he'll be down one kidney but up one more friend. He expects the surgery will happen in May in Florida. There is a GoFundMe page set up to help cover some of the costs associated with the trip.