CLAYTON, Ind. – April of last year, Purple Heart recipient Russell Broughton II said he was struggling to fulfill his duties as a father, son and husband.
“It got to the point where I couldn’t do anything besides get sick and sleep,” Broughton said. “I wasn’t the father I wanted to be or husband. Dialysis was everything.”
Broughton served in the Army from 2001 to 2013. Routine medical tests in 2013 found Broughton had focal segmental glomerulosclerosis. The disease is a leading cause of kidney failure in adults and Broughton’s kidney was operating with only 40 percent function left.
He left the Army and started dialysis treatments in August of 2014. By April 2015, Broughton put out a plea for a new kidney through a Facebook post.
“I didn’t want to act like I was asking for a hand out or pity, but I really just came to a point where my family was struggling,” Broughton said.
Andrew Coughlan answered the Broughton family’s prayer.
“I almost feel like we’re expected as people to give,” Coughlan said.
Coughlan and Broughton served together during a tour in Iraq with the Bravo Company 1-32 out of the 10th Mountain Division, however were in different platoons and didn’t have much interaction.
“The bond between military people is a crazy thing,” Broughton said. “I mean he put his life on the line directly just for me and we barely knew each other before.”
The transplant happened this Friday. The two are still recovering from the surgery, but these brothers on the battle field say they now have a whole new bond.
“He changed my life within a four hour period. My life is 100 percent different,” Broughton said.
“I wasn’t doing it for any reason, besides to help him, to give him a quality of life, to give his daughters a father and give his wife the husband that they all deserve,” Coughlan said.
“We can’t ever thank Andrew enough,” Broughton’s father, Russell Broughton Senior said. “Andrew knows and I’ve told him, ‘you’re now my son and you always will be and I love you and I respect you.'”
Coughlan, a Wounded Warrior employee, says he was just doing his duty.
“It’s my daily job to help warriors, but this is just probably the most direct thing I’ve done for a warrior,” he said. “Without a doubt.”