Sgt. Burrel “Chip” Davis has been in the news quite a bit lately, but not for the reason he might have expected. In the spring of 2014, the onset of severe headaches pushed him to seek medical treatment. The day after he told his wife he was ready to go the emergency room, Kelly made an appointment with one of her medical colleagues. A full blood work up and other tests later, they learned Chip’s headaches – the only symptom he had – were caused by elevated creatine numbers.
Chip was hospitalized to see if an adjustment in his medications would lower the levels, but after two days with no change in the numbers, he was diagnosed with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). He began seeing a doctor every six weeks while the creatine numbers kept climbing. A little more than a year later in June of 2015, his nephrologist felt it was time for Chip to be evaluated for a kidney transplant.
It was determined that Sgt. Davis was a good candidate for the transplant, so he was put on the transplant list in July. After long discussions, Chip and his wife, who is a general cardiology fellow at Vanderbilt Medical Center, decided against dialysis and felt the best way to fight the CKD was to find a living donor. Kelly’s letter about the challenges Chip was facing on a Go Fund Me page went viral with nearly 400 shares and news stories on WKRN in Nashville and WAAY in Huntsville, Alabama.
And people started being tested. Although the number of people tested is kept confidential, dozens of his friends, colleagues, and acquaintances told him they were being assessed to see if they matched.
After waiting just five months where a three to five year wait had been anticipated, Chip will get a new kidney on December 29. He will return to work at the La Vergne Police Department six to eight weeks after surgery if he has no complications, “I hope to feel like I used to feel. I want to work with no restrictions.”
Sgt. Davis is looking forward to again being active on the S.W.A.T. team where he serves as the Assistant Team Commander. S.W.A.T. is an elite group of officers with a special skill set. Sgt. Davis said it is an honor to be a part of that team.
Outside of work, Chip and his wife are raising two daughters, ages 10 and four. He is also a musician, coming from a family of musicians. His grandmother, mother, and sister are pianists and his father was a drummer. The family members mostly play at churches, but Chip also volunteered at Whites Creek High School as a percussion instructor. He had to stop so he could be available for the call if a new kidney became available. He did not want to let the band down if he had to leave while they were getting ready for an important event or competition. Sgt. Davis is proud that he has taught several kids who have gone on to college marching bands and some are now in the music field as percussionists.
Besides drums, Sgt. Chip Davis also loves fishing. His grandfather took him at an early age to the Nashville Sportsman’s Club where together they took part in fishing tournaments and events. The goal of the Sportman’s Club was to bring men together with similar hobbies and fellowship. Today, he fishes with other officers and has also learned to hunt.
When asked how La Vergne could improve, Sgt. Davis said the city is very diverse with a large mix of cultures. He believes it is important for people be become more culturally aware. “If I don’t understand someone’s culture, I may not be able to help,” said Sgt. Davis. He believes the community as a whole would be more attractive if people tried to understand their neighbors. “If you understand their culture, you’ll be able to help the right way. Through understanding we’re better able to help others.”
Helping others is something Chip is drawn to do. He recalled one gentleman who had fallen off his roof several days before Sgt. Davis was dispatched to the man’s home. He had again fallen in the bathroom and was lying lifeless in the floor. Although he thought there was no hope, Chip began CPR on him. The man is alive today and Chip learned from that experience to always make a point to do everything he could to save a life. “When you think there’s nothing left, keep pushing and things can change.”
Sgt. Davis also remembered a little girl he helped save. She was a child actress and had been filming a television commercial for a department store all day. Exhausted, she went to take a bath and fell asleep in the tub. Her mother frantically called 911 when the girl didn’t respond to her mother’s shouts nor did she open the door. Chip kicked in the door just as the girl was slipping under the water. Chip said when he saw her commercials after that, he appreciated why she had been so tired that night.
Sgt. Davis has been a police officer for 17 years, 12 years with the La Vergne Police Department. He started in the Metro Juvenile Court Warrant Division, serving child support warrants. Sadly business was booming even then. However because the court was not considered by definition as a law enforcement agency, he had to leave or his police certification would have expired.
Today Chip feels like he has two families – his own family and his fellow officers. He said he has developed life-long friendships at the police department, but didn’t understand how many people were really in his corner until his illness.
And the amazing twist of fate? The person who will be giving up one of his kidneys so Sgt. Davis can live is a fellow officer. It’s an officer who came into his life because Sgt. Davis had encouraged him to apply for the city’s police force.
Chip believes that he and Eric Crowder were destined to work together, to become friends. And like the lives that Sgt. Davis remembers saving, Officer Crowder will now also know that he saved a human life.
Some might say destiny brought the two together. Perhaps it’s not destiny at all. Maybe we are witness to our own Christmas miracle right here in La Vergne."We Are LaVergne: Sgt. Chip Davis",