Family of Fallen Officer Meets Heart Transplant Recipient


LITTLE ROCK, AR – William McGary died in the line of duty in February 2013. More than a year later, his parents heard his beating heart again on Sunday.

Tanya and Harold McGary met Charles Conner in Little Rock at a reception hosted by Arkansas Regional Organ Recovery Agency, or ARORA.

Conner received a heart transplant on February 2, 2013, less than 24 hours after William McGary, 26, died as a result of injuries he sustained while on duty with the Conway Police Department.

“I was watching the news that Friday night in my hospital bed, that was the first night I’d heard his name,” Conner recalls.

It wasn’t until two weeks ago that Conner learned the heart he received was, in fact, the heart he had suspected all along.

“It was emotional, very emotional because a life was given up to save mine,” Conner says.

For McGary’s parents, Sunday marked the beginning of a new chapter in their son’s legacy and with the help of a stethoscope, the opportunity to hear their son’s heart beat again.

“It’s overwhelming,” Tanya McGary says.  “That big hug feeling that Will used to give me, it was that kind of feeling.  I was probably the first person when Will was born, you hear his heart, you feel his heart, it was kind of that same feeling as a mom.  God gave us Will.  That was the first thing we heard or saw, was Will have life and smile and scream and all that when he was born.  So the next best thing is hearing his heart.”

Doctors were also able to successfully transplant both kidneys from McGary.  His parents have now met all three organ donation recipients.

“As parents we couldn’t be prouder of the amazing, astonishing life life that he has at 26 years old,” Tanya McGary says.  “His legacy that he’s left with all of us.”


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