Life and Death. And Life.
One year ago, policeman David Moore was gunned down in the line of duty. A family lost their only son. But his lungs have given another man a remarkable second chance.
Editor’s Note, June 21, 2012: Thomas Hardy was sentenced to life in prison without parole in April. Eric Jenkins was indicted today on three counts of possessing a firearm as a convicted felon. Authorities allege that he sold the semi-automatic handgun noted in this story to Hardy in 2011.
When you’re on the list, you pick up the phone—middle of the night, in the bathroom, driving. Lance Lewis knew the statistics: on average, every day in the United States, 18 people on the list die waiting. When the phone rings, you answer.
Lance was on the couch when the call came. The computers had identified him as a potential match. He and his wife, Cathy, lived on the south side, and they would need to get to Methodist Hospital, in downtown Indianapolis, as soon as possible. “We think we have a pair of lungs for you,” the caller said.
The date was January 26, 2011. The last time a call had come, almost exactly a year earlier, Lance wasn’t ready. Making it through a lung transplant was difficult enough, even for a relatively healthy patient, and Lance had been recovering from a bout of pneumonia and had a fever. Several calls went back and forth between him and the hospital, touch and go, until doctors decided to move on to the next name on the list. He and Cathy cried. Then they regrouped. “That wasn’t the call,” she told him. “Those weren’t your lungs.”
The two had grown used to waiting. When Lance first went on the list, in 2003, about 30 other would-be recipients stood ahead of him. After two years, his name had moved up to number 10. When the Indiana Organ Procurement Organization, or IOPO, changed the rules so that the sickest patients would get lungs first, Lance dropped back to number 36. He and Cathy agreed it was only fair. His doctor suggested they pull his name off until things got worse. “When you get sicker,” he said, “come back and see us, and we’ll get you right back on.”
Now Lance had difficulty carrying a gallon of milk from the car and up the three steps to his front porch. He had used an oxygen tank off and on for the past two-and-a-half years—and for the last year, he had been hooked to the thing constantly. So when this pair of lungs became available, Lance’s name was near the top of the list. A blood test confirmed his match with the donor, and that night, at about 10:30, technicians wheeled Lance into an operating room. His adult children, two of whom lived hours away, arrived just in time to tell their father they loved him. They didn’t know if they would have the chance to tell him again.
In the waiting room, Cathy watched two televisions flash updates about a young policeman shot during a traffic stop a few days earlier, who was at another hospital just blocks away. It has been a turbulent few days for the Moore family and fellow IMPD officers, as David Moore has fought for his life … Now they’re forced to face the worst, as his battle has been lost … It seemed like everywhere she looked, Cathy saw a television with another report about that policeman and his parents. She felt like crying for them. And it seemed like everyone around her was talking about it. Strangers kept asking her why she was there. “My husband is having a lung transplant,” she told them.
David Moore grew up in a police family. His father, Spencer, served in Vietnam with the Air Force’s security police. In 1968, he joined the Indianapolis Police Department where he would climb the administrative ranks to the level of lieutenant.
After joining the department, Spencer founded Explorer Post 435, part of an outreach initiative for teenagers interested in law enforcement. In 1974, a 17-year-old high school senior named Jo Ann Cord—Jo, as her friends called her—walked into a meeting in a church on the south side. She had wanted to become a police officer since reading The Super Cops, an action-packed book about real-life New York policemen. The first day he met Jo—self-confident, outspoken, pretty—Spencer, then 30, says he knew he was going to marry her, even though she thought the older policeman was, in his words, “an unmitigated, arrogant asshole.” But past the wisecracking exterior, she saw a man who was fun, and caring.
Spencer asked Jo’s father for permission to “court” her. Jo wasn’t pleased. “I thought courting meant getting married, and I thought we were just dating,” says Jo. “I got all upset in front of my dad. Courting? What’s courting? Spencer was like, ‘Oh, good Lord,’ because it showed the 12 years of age difference.”
The following March, Spencer bought a pair of rings, then waited until Jo graduated, in May, to propose. “I told Spencer, ‘If you don’t want your wife to be a policeman, don’t marry me,’” she says. “That would have been a deal breaker.”
They married in the fall, and a daughter, Carol, came four years later. They had their second child, David, in 1981. When David was 4, Jo decided to join the department. In preparation for the entrance exams, she carried study materials around their southside tri-level to look them over while she did housework. One morning, she heard David crying in his room. “If you’re going to become a police man,” he asked her, his little face streaked red, “then who will be my mommy?”
Young David spent a lot of time around the department. Jo worked on Mounted Patrol, and he would feed and groom the animals in the horse barn. He also visited headquarters, where his father worked. “I was in administration, so I had offices instead of squad cars,” says Spencer. “People got to know him. David was just a nice kid, pleasant and respectful. He was always around police. Our friends were police. By the time David was into his formative years, that’s all he knew.” He talked about being a police officer when he grew up, just like his mom and dad.
David was a big, strong boy (he would grow to be over 6-feet tall and a muscled 200 pounds), but he was also kind, and children around the neighborhood looked to him to settle disputes. He and Carol, his older sister, were close. The two of them were home alone one day, and David, roughhousing, punched a hole in the wall. Carol carefully patched and painted it to hide the evidence. Their parents never knew about the damage until years later, when Carol, as an adult, finally copped to the cover-up.
From the time they were married, Spencer encouraged Jo to be an equal partner. He wanted her to know how to fix stuff around the house. Independent by nature, Jo relished such tasks, and Spencer would sometimes return from conventions to find that she had remodeled an entire room. Spencer had never wanted a “grocery-shelf” wife. More important, he says, “I knew that if something happened to me, she would be left alone.” The two bought funeral plots, so that if one of them was killed in the line of duty, the other wouldn’t have to decide in mourning where to hold the burial. “With him being a police officer, and with my years of service,” Jo says, “the idea of not coming home is kind of in the back of your mind.”
When David was 6, his parents brought him to a memorial service held for Officer Matt Faber, shot after entering an eastside home. When David was 11, he attended a service for Officer Teresa Hawkins, killed in a crash while driving her patrol car. The elaborate ritual, the regalia, the bowed heads, the tributes—all the trappings of the police funeral seemed to move him deeply. He looked off to the distance through the window of his mother’s squad car as the two rode along in the procession.
Cathy Lewis used to tell Lance that he moved “like a turtle,” because it took him a long time to do anything. They would go shopping, and he would still be climbing out of the car after she had already walked into the store. The two married in 1977, just six months after they met. (On their first date, he had moved to kiss her good night. “If you’re not looking for a real relationship, then you’d better run,” she told him, “because I could see myself falling for you.” He called her the next day.) Lance had never been particularly active; his mother told Cathy that, even as a boy, he frequently struggled with bronchitis. They had always assumed he had asthma. But over time Lance seemed to be getting worse. He would lose his breath and need to rest after simple tasks.
In 2000, when Lance was 43, he went to the doctor for chest X-rays. The doctor looked at the X-rays and recommended he see a pulmonologist. Then, the pulmonologist looked at the X-rays. “Lance,” he said, “you have the lungs of an 80-year-old man.” The images showed lung deterioration consistent with emphysema. But unlike the emphysema of, say, long-term smokers, which damages the lungs from the top, the deterioration in Lance’s lungs seemed to be spreading from the bottom. “I can tell you exactly what the problem is,” he said. “But we’ll have to do a blood test to confirm it.” A lab in California proved what the pulmonologist had surmised: Lance had alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, an inherited genetic disorder that allows the body’s immune system to attack healthy tissue in the lungs. Since birth, Lance’s white blood cells had been slowly devouring his ability to breathe.
Although Lance’s condition appeared in his lungs, the disease actually originates in the liver, which is supposed to produce an enzyme that prevents the lung damage. But no doctor would agree to replace a liver that was, as in Lance’s case, otherwise perfectly healthy. Eventually, Lance’s lungs would stop functioning completely—but no one could say for sure when that would be. Five years? Ten?
Lance would need a lung transplant to save his life. But he faced a difficult decision. If he did nothing, mortality would overcome him in a gradual, measured advance. On the other hand, lung transplantation carried tremendous risks. Recipients died on the operating table. They died when their bodies rejected the donor organs. They died of infection. The average five-year survival rate was a flat 50 percent. Lance had to weigh an impossible dilemma: When should he trade the certainty of a gasping, drawn-out demise for a surgery that gave him a 50/50 shot at a longer life—but also a 50/50 chance of dying even sooner than the disease would kill him?
Lance’s son, Jason, told Lance that he would “rather have a sick dad for 10 years than a healthy dad for five.” But three years after the diagnosis, Lance and Cathy decided to let doctors put his name on the transplant list.
Then they waited.
In 1996, David Moore enrolled at Franklin Central High School. Sometimes David got into fights. As a freshman, he had a man’s body and a deep voice, and when other children were bullied, they seemed to look to David for help. One day in the hall, a student dropped some books, and as others jeered and kicked, David stooped to help gather them up. When another boy persisted in kicking at the books, David shoved him away. A teacher contacted David’s parents and told them the altercation typified David’s troubles. “He is quite the protector,” the teacher said.
Before the school year was over, David’s parents moved him to Roncalli, a Catholic high school. Not long after starting there, he told his mother that a classmate had dropped some books on the floor, and David had braced himself for another fight—until everyone else bent to pick up the books. “He knew he had found a home,” says Jo.
“This big, burly guy just kind of walked in the middle of freshman year,” says Zack Conover, a close friend of David’s. “Everyone was gawking at him, because he had a full-grown beard, and he was real quiet. He intimidated a lot of people.” When David warmed up, though, Conover discovered that he was “a B.S.er.” He had a “shit-eating” grin (as David’s dad called it) that signaled his intentions for mischief. Conover, who played football with David, says he liked to sneak into the locker room and move around teammates’ photos and other personal items.
David became a star defensive end and co-captain on the Roncalli team that went undefeated and won a state championship in 1999. David excelled in the classroom as well, and he was drawn to the physical challenge and discipline of military training; as graduation approached, he fielded scholarship offers from The Citadel and the United States Coast Guard Academy. He opted for a Marine Officer NROTC scholarship at Purdue, in 2000, and once there, he left the same strong mark he had in high school. On one occasion, Spencer and Jo visited the school’s administrative offices, and the reaction they got made them think they had been mistaken for celebrities. “The place went crazy,” says Spencer. “You’re David Moore’s parents? Hey everybody, David Moore’s parents are here!”
“It sounded like what I imagined Fallujah sounded like,” says Chappell. “It was a gun battle.”
For David, a military career beckoned. He introduced his father to an old Marine master gunnery sergeant who worked with him at Purdue, and Spencer recalls the man telling David, “You are one of the few people I’ve met at your age that I’d follow anywhere—even into the gates of Hell.” When it became apparent that an old knee injury would keep David out of the Corps, a colonel pleaded with superiors to keep him.
But fate, it seemed, had other plans. In 2004, David, then 22, returned home to join the Indianapolis Police Department’s 102nd class of recruits.
Officer David Moore was driving a patrol car down Michigan Street in the near-westside neighborhood of Haughville, at close to midnight, when he heard bursts of gunfire. It sounded like they were coming from the side street he had just passed. Another officer patrolling the area, Adam Chappell, passed him coming from the opposite direction on Michigan just moments after the shots rang out. The two were on street-level enforcement detail, or SLED, a unit focused on crime “hot spots” around the city. David picked up the radio. “Chap, did you hear that?” he barked.
“It sounded like what I imagined Fallujah sounded like,” says Chappell. “It was a gun battle.” The two officers made quick U-turns and steered down Goodlet Avenue toward a parked van. They heard more gunfire and saw the outline of figures scrambling away into the shadows. As David drove on toward the van, Chappell, following behind, turned down an alley and then jumped out of his cruiser to chase the fleeing assailants. Then he heard more gunshots. BAM. Pause. BAM BAM BAM BAM. They had come from the street, right where he had last seen David pulling up on the parked van.
“It sounded like what I imagined Fallujah sounded like,” says Chappell. “It was a gun battle.”
Suddenly, quiet. Chappell called out. Dave, you okay? No answer. David! He jumped back into the car and sped around to the front of the house, fearing the worst.
As he pulled up to the van, he saw David. He was standing there, gun drawn, with five men lying on the ground before him. Four were facedown on the pavement, surrendered. The fifth was fatally injured. A Bersa .380 semi-automatic handgun—a cheap, easily concealable pistol the man had fired at David from a few yards away—still lay by his side. For the incident, which occurred in 2008, the department would award David the Medal of Valor.
“We all work with these officers—they’re just kind of there, soup and sandwich,” says Chappell. “You think, ‘Man, if something ever happens, I hope he’s not my backup.’ But David was a go-to guy. I knew that if I was involved in something serious, David was going to come running.” Officer Jeremy Gates used to patrol with David in the North District, and he says he could barely get David to slow down long enough to grab a gas-station sandwich for dinner. He had a preternatural ability to spot suspicious activity. Without notice, he would stop the cruiser, jump out, and take off on foot toward a suspect. “Aside from the receding hairline,” says Gates, “he was the poster boy for what a police officer is supposed to look like. His uniform was always squared away, boots shined—the whole nine.”
David was also a good guy who knew how to have a good time. Single (and something of a ladies’ man), he took Christmas-day shifts for officers with families. And he was a “slim jim” master. Gates remembers parking his car downtown to testify in court, then returning to find it wasn’t where he’d left it. “I thought, ‘Holy shit, my car’s gone,’” says Gates. “I thought I was going to have to be that guy who reports his police car stolen.”
But if David’s horseplay endeared him to colleagues, he took a thoughtful approach to his duty as an officer. After a few years in the department, a former employer’s daughter, interested in law enforcement, asked for guidance, and the two exchanged emails. “Think about this,” he wrote. “I had a house on my beat. A lady was raising a boy and a girl. The boy was 10 and the girl was 8. They literally had to pay for lunch and dinner. The mom was so broke she couldn’t afford the food, so if the kids wanted to eat they had to pay her!!! The boy was out stealing and selling things. Do you know any of your friends who have had to do that? … That is how this job will change you. It changes your black and white outlook to a grayness.”
Danger—the danger that led to the police funerals he attended as a child, the danger that made his parents buy burial plots, the danger that placed him in a kill-or-be-killed shoot-out—wasn’t something David talked about. The job wasn’t about catching bad guys; it was about making people’s lives safer. But he wasn’t naive.
“We can’t help everyone, and if you try you will be beat down emotionally,” he wrote. “There will always be bad people.”
On January 22, 2011, at around 5 a.m., a 60-year-old ex-con named Thomas Hardy pulled into the Mallard Cove apartment complex, off of North Shadeland Avenue. According to witness statements, he walked into an apartment to smoke crack cocaine. At some point, he and a man in the apartment named Eric “Boo” Jenkins struck a deal: Hardy would trade a crack rock for Boo’s Bersa .380 semi-automatic handgun. Hardy wanted to settle a beef with another man he claimed had cheated him out of $100.
On January 23, at around 5:30 a.m., David left the IMPD’s North District headquarters, on East 30th Street, to start his patrol. It was his second morning on the day shift. He had requested the new assignment because he preferred the schedule to the overnight hours of the middle shift—done by 2 p.m., with the rest of the day to do what he wanted. He had called his mom after that first day. “I think I’m going to like this shift,” he said.
At close to 9 a.m., David was driving down East 34th Street when he followed a gold-colored Camry onto North Temple Avenue, into a modest working-class neighborhood. David flipped on the flashing lights, and the Camry came to a stop; no one knows why the car caught his attention. “The hardest thing I face is a traffic stop,” David once wrote to his young email friend. “Regardless of how rough an area is there are always good people who live there. Honest hard-working people. I make a lot of good arrests off of the simplest traffic stops you can imagine.” David pulled up behind the car and ran the plates, then got out of his cruiser and walked up to the driver’s-side window.
A few blocks away, officer Matthew Mielke was pulling out of the parking lot of North District headquarters when he heard gunshots. Then a voice came over the radio. Officer down in the 3400 block of North Temple. Mielke rushed to the scene. Moore’s police cruiser was parked at an angle to the curb. The lights were still flashing. In front of the car, on the snow-covered street, lay the rumpled figure of a uniformed police officer. Mielke called in the medics, then ran over and kneeled down beside the officer. It was David Moore. He was lying on his side, not moving. His pulse was fading. Another officer arrived, and the two of them gingerly rolled David over onto his back. That’s when they saw that he had been shot in the head and neck area. His gun was still in its holster.
When medics arrived, David was still alive. But just barely. They cut off the front of his bullet-resistant vest, loaded him into the ambulance, and, led by a police escort, rushed him downtown to Wishard Hospital. Another officer helped remove and secure David’s gun. One of the medics handed the officer a .38-caliber slug that had fallen out of David’s clothing.
Back on Temple Street, investigators swarmed over the scene to try to figure out what had happened. The plate number of the Camry was still up on the monitor of the laptop computer in David’s cruiser. It turned out the car had been reported stolen about a month earlier. A crime-scene specialist found seven spent .38-caliber shell casings and one .38-caliber slug on the ground near where David had fallen. Police interviewed neighbors on the block, and a blind man who lived nearby told them he had heard four gunshots, a pause, then three more. Another neighbor had looked out the window of her house to see an officer lying in the street and a gold-colored car speeding away.
About an hour later, the manager of a southside Dollar General store called the police to report that a man had just carried several bags of Cheetos to the counter, then pulled a handgun on the clerk and swiped $101 from the register. The clerk said he was wearing tan slacks, dress shoes, and a black leather jacket with a fur-lined hood. He had left a bag of Cheetos on the counter.
Although it’s not clear why, police soon turned their attention to a man named Thomas Hardy. They found an address, just a few blocks from the Dollar General robbery. There, Hardy’s niece told investigators that he had called her that morning from a number that turned out to be a downtown pay phone in Circle Centre mall. Detectives checked the mall’s surveillance tapes and saw a man who matched the description of the robber. They later found the Camry parked in the garage of the JW Marriott hotel a few blocks away. Surveillance videos showed that the same man who had robbed the dollar store and used the mall pay phone had left the car there at around 10:15 a.m. Later that afternoon, a crime-lab examiner found fingerprints on the Cheetos bag left behind at the dollar-store robbery. They were a match with Thomas Hardy.
As detectives tracked Hardy’s movements on the morning of the shooting, a federal law-enforcement agency contacted police to let them know they had received a tip from an informant named Penny Torrence. At close to 5:30 that evening, a team of IMPD officers surrounded Torrence’s near-westside home, looking for Hardy. They ordered Hardy to come out. When police took Hardy and Torrence into custody, she told them to go into the house and look inside a green bag. When they returned with a warrant, they found a Bersa .380 semi-automatic handgun.
Torrence told detectives that Hardy had showed up at her house at around 9:30 that morning. He had asked for money. She didn’t have any. So he told her he was going to go get some. When he returned, he had cash, and he said it had come from the dollar store. He told Torrence he needed to ditch the car because police were looking for it.
She asked Hardy what he had done. He said a cop had pulled him over that morning and walked up to his car. He said he had a gun he had picked up at Boo’s place. Hardy was on parole, and if the cop found the gun, he would go back to prison. So, he said, he put a round in the chamber and switched off the safety. Then, he told her, “One thing led to another.”
David had been shot six times—twice in the face. Two bullets hit him in the leg; another struck his ammunition pouch. It appeared that his bullet-resistant vest had stopped at least one shot from penetrating his torso—the round was still lodged in the vest when David was found.
David’s parents stood sentry at the hospital and held news conferences to address the public’s concerns over David’s condition. Worried IMPD officers hung around the hospital lobby at all hours of the day and night. Across the city, people who knew David, and many more who didn’t, prayed for his survival. Close to 300 showed up for a vigil at a church near where he was shot.
On Tuesday, January 25, a hospital MRI indicated that David would not regain consciousness. That evening, IMPD chief Paul Ciesielski convened a news conference to announce that David’s parents had decided to take him off life support. He would be the first officer in the newly organized department to be killed in the line of duty. IOPO staffers rushed to identify potential organ recipients. In David’s room, nurses moved him over on his bed, so Jo could lie next to him during his last hours.
Officer David Moore was pronounced dead at Wishard Hospital at 6:18 a.m. on Wednesday, January 26, 2011. Because he had been in such peak physical condition, and because the bullet-resistant vest had protected his chest and abdomen, doctors were able to recover his lungs, heart, liver, and both kidneys. Although his fatal head wounds had left his eyes intact, IOPO staffers feared that recovering any tissue from the neck up might interfere with the autopsy. At the last minute, the coroner’s office gave the okay to remove and transplant both corneas as well.
That afternoon, Lance Lewis received his phone call, and late that night he went into surgery. The procedure would last nearly nine hours. Before going to the hospital, Lance had followed the young policeman’s shooting, and he had a hunch that he was getting the officer’s lungs. It was one of many thoughts that ran through his mind as he lay on his side waiting for the anesthesia to take hold.
Some of the family members who waited out Lance’s surgery at the hospital shared his speculation about the donor, and they chatted about it to help pass the time. “I told my daughter, Angie, ‘I wish everybody would stop talking about the officer, because we don’t know whose lungs these are,’” says Cathy. “But she said, ‘I don’t care. I’m going to believe they’re the officer’s lungs.’ To her, it just made sense.”
“I told my daughter, Angie, ‘I wish everybody would stop talking about the officer, because we don’t know whose lungs these are,” says Cathy.
Cathy got phone calls throughout the early morning from a transplant coordinator. “They just put him on his side,” he told Cathy. Then, “They’re getting ready to take out the right lung—he’s doing great.” Then, “The right lung is out, and the new one is in. We’re getting ready to flip him over.” Calls every hour, until the last call, well after daybreak. “Everything went well,” the coordinator said. “He got a really good set of lungs.”
When Lance awoke, his belief that the donor must have been the policeman remained. IOPO keeps all organ donor and recipient information strictly confidential, but Lance knew that, someday, he needed to meet the family that lost a son in giving him new life.
Months after David’s death, Jo Moore composed seven handwritten letters. She didn’t know who would read them, only that they had received David’s organs. She wanted the people who carried around parts of him to know what kind of man he had been, how much he had meant to her.
IOPO delivered the letters, and Lance got one of them a few days later. “I am so glad you received David’s lungs,” she wrote. “I admire your strength and courage to be an organ recipient. We pray that you live your life and enjoy what the future brings.”
Lance began to handwrite a reply, until he realized that the tremors in his extremities, caused by medication he took to prevent his body from rejecting David’s lungs, made the words illegible. So he typed. “Words cannot express how blessed I am to have been entrusted with David’s lungs,” he wrote. “I will cherish, protect, and use them to their fullest. Your family’s gift of love has given me a new life for which I will always be grateful.” He told her he hoped they would meet one day.
As Jo and Spencer Moore began the process of coming to terms with their loss, authorities moved swiftly to impose justice on the man accused of pulling the trigger. On January 27, a day after David Moore was removed from life support, Marion County prosecutors charged Hardy with murder, robbery, and unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon. A few weeks later, they filed a request for the death sentence.
Hardy has a long rap sheet, mostly property crimes and drug offenses, accumulated over several decades. Hardy’s niece, who helped investigators locate him before his arrest, told The Indianapolis Star that the crime he now stands accused of “is not in my uncle’s character.” In a written statement, his attorneys, Ray Casanova and Monica Foster, wrote that “Thomas Hardy, like all Americans accused of crime, is presumed innocent,” and, they continued, “there are many aspects of what happened that are not at all what they seem at first blush.”
At press time, Hardy’s trial was scheduled for October 1, 2012, and it is far too early in the proceedings to predict an outcome. But it probably won’t be a cut-and-dried case. In ballistic tests, the pistol that Thomas Hardy allegedly used to shoot David Moore “slam-fired”—a malfunction that causes a gun to discharge a round without the trigger being pulled. Denise Robinson, a deputy prosecuting attorney, says the matter is “still under investigation.” Depending on how that investigation plays out, the malfunction could leave the defense room to argue that Hardy hadn’t intended to fire the gun as many times as it went off—or at all. But even Hardy’s lawyers, it seems, are saddened by David Moore’s fate. “There is one thing with which we will not disagree with the prosecutor,” they wrote. “Officer David Moore was a good police officer and an extraordinary human being whose life was taken from us far too soon.”
Sadly, none of this might have happened, if not for a simple administrative error. Hardy was arrested in 2010 on felony theft charges, while he was still on parole for an earlier theft conviction. Had Thomas Hardy’s parole officer performed a routine arrest check, as policy dictated, she likely would have requested that the parole board send him back to prison. Instead, on December 21, 2010—about a month before David Moore was shot—Thomas Hardy walked out of jail.
It’s a crisp, fall afternoon, and Lance and Cathy Lewis have come to visit Spencer and Jo Moore at their northside home. It is just around the block from where David used to live—his sister, Carol, moved into his house after he died, and his parents later bought a place nearby. Since their first meeting in May, the Lewises and Moores have continued to get together. It feels right to them, somehow. They share stories about their grandchildren. They tell jokes and make fun of one another. And they marvel at how much they have in common.
The Moores raised their family just a short distance from the southside home where the Lewises raised theirs. When Lance was David’s age, he was also a law-enforcement officer, with the Marion County Sheriff’s Department. When Jo was in the hospital delivering David, Cathy was in the very same hospital, delivering her son Aaron. There is a lot to talk about.
They gather for lunch in the Moores’ kitchen and talk about Lance’s recovery. “He’s doing so well, it’s like having a new husband,” Cathy says. “He looks different. His color is different. I smile every day, just looking at him.” Her joy, she admits, is tempered by a kind of survivor’s guilt that her family’s blessing arose from another family’s heartbreak.
Lance says that before the transplant, he always felt that people were giving him disapproving looks, like when they’d see Cathy loading heavy groceries into the car, while he stood by watching. “I couldn’t help but think, all those people standing around were wondering, ‘Why in the world is he making her unload that car while he’s standing there like a lazy bum?’” he says.
Cathy once told Spencer that it used to be easy to find Lance when she needed him, because he was always on the couch. “Now she has to go to the front door, the back door, down the street, the park—because he’s out mowing the lawn, riding his bike, up on the roof,” Spencer says. “Now, she can’t keep up.” He jokes that when Lance is driving behind a car that runs a stop sign, he has a strange urge to pull it over.
Jo brags about how Lance recently finished a 12-mile bike ride. Sometimes when she looks at Lance, she beams, and her eyes well up. She likes to call the heart-shaped scars around Lance’s shoulder blades, from the incisions where doctors opened his body cavity, his “angel wings.”
After lunch, Spencer and Jo take Lance and Cathy on a walk through the neighborhood to show them a stone memorial to David that neighbors have placed in a front yard. They point out the house of two women, raising a son, who liked David coming over to spend time with their boy because he was a good male role model. Over there is the home of an older woman who called David frequently to tell him about goings-on in the neighborhood; having him nearby made her feel safe. Along the way, flags and other tributes to David dot house after house, yard after yard. He had only lived in the neighborhood for a few years, and somehow he seems to have known everyone.
On the way home, Spencer falls back to walk beside Lance.
“I’m 12 years older than Jo,” he says. “I always figured David would be there to take care of his mother when I am gone. When you have a son, you imagine what he’s going to accomplish. I saw David being in a high leadership position in the department some day. Now that he’s gone, it leaves a hole.”
Lance doesn’t say anything for a moment. His eyes redden a little, and he takes a deep breath—something he had not been able to do for a very long time.
For information about the Officer David S. Moore Foundation, visit www.davidsmoorefoundation.org.
Donations can be mailed to:
Officer David S. Moore Foundation
PO Box 39284
Indianapolis, IN 46239
Photo by Tony Valainis
This article originally appeared in the January 2012 issue.