AMERICUS, GA (WALB) - Nearly two years after his death in the line of duty, Georgia Southwestern State University Campus Safety Officer Jody Smith continued to make an impact on his community Tuesday.
Smith and his best friend, Americus Police Officer Nick Smarr, were shot while responding to a domestic call in December 2016. Both died from their injuries.
Smith was an organ donor. He helped save multiple lives in the days following his death.
His mother, Sgt. Sharron Johnson with the Sumter County Sheriff's Office, received a list from the LifeLink Foundation, with the names of each recipient of Smith's gift of life.
Several months after her son's death, a relative of one of the recipients, Brandon Simpson, spoke to Johnson in public, letting her know how grateful she was for her son's donation.
But, Johnson had never met Simpson himself. That is, until Tuesday.
Simpson decided to concoct a surprise of sorts, and a bittersweet one at that.
After being pulled out of court, Smith's mom ended up surrounded by her co-workers, and two apparent strangers, with no idea why she was there.
"How do you know Brandon Simpson?" Col. Eric Bryant asked of Sgt. Johnson. "You're carrying a part of my baby aren't you?" Sgt. Johnson asked of Simpson, before he embraced her.
Simpson, according to Johnson, has some similarities with her son.
She called him a teddy bear, a phrase she's always used to describe Officer Smith.
She said the surprise was the definition of bittersweet.
She still hates that her son lost his life, but it gives her joy to know he helped save Brandon's life and the lives of several others.
Brandon told WALB he had been on dialysis for eight years before he received Officer Smith’s organ nearly two years ago.
Johnson said she told Brandon that God clearly has a purpose for him, and her advice for him was to spread God’s love.