WATERLOO — Police Chief Dan Trelka has aided an Outlaw — Jimmy Outlaw, to be exact — in a way that may improve both their lives.
The Waterloo chief had intended to donate a kidney to a retired law officer in Sturgeon Bay, Wis., where he worked prior to coming to Waterloo, who was a police partner of a close friend.
However, ultimately they weren’t a match. Trelka donated a kidney anyway — to a total stranger he now calls a friend.
Trelka’s kidney on Jan. 17 went to another Wisconsinite — Jimmy Outlaw of Milwaukee.
“He’s been on dialysis for about seven years,” Trelka said, and they were an ideal match. “My kidney was apparently huge. Not enlarged, just very strong and just what he needed.”
Trelka met Outlaw at Froedtert Hospital in Wauwatosa, near Milwaukee.
“It was very emotional,” Trelka said. “He has six kids. He has grandkids. Jimmy is 53.” Trelka is 54. “Gosh, we just hugged and it was very emotional. We met about 10 or 15 minutes. When I left his room, he told me he loved me. I said, ‘I love you, brother.’ “
Outlaw like Trelka is a big fan of Wisconsin sports teams, including the Milwaukee Brewers. They’re staying in touch.
“We text every day,” Trelka said.
He wants to learn more about Outlaw. He said Outlaw is a native of Mississippi. Trelka is as yet unaware if Outlaw is related to individuals of the same surname in Waterloo, though many of the city’s African-American families also can trace their heritage back to the Magnolia State. Outlaw is still in the hospital until his body adapts to the new kidney. He’s been functioning off dialysis since receiving the kidney.
Trelka is back in Waterloo and feels fine. It’ll mean a lifestyle change for him, for the better.
“I probably don’t exercise enough, don’t drink enough water and probably occasionally drink more alcohol than I should,” Trelka said.
He intends to keep in shape. A U.S. Marine Corps veteran and an avid cyclist, he will resume cycling this summer. He plans a three-mile run today. He said he’ll probably end up healthier.
“I learned a lot,” Trelka said. “It’s neat. It was a positive impact on two people’s lives — my friend’s partner and Jimmy. I want to encourage other people to think about being living donors.”
Trelka has been Waterloo chief since 2010. He was at the Sturgeon Bay police department from 1992-2010, including seven years as chief.