Raised by his parents to always do what he could to help others, Grant Kemper of Dayton will be donating a kidney to a family friend next month.
“My dad has always taught me that if you can help somebody out, you should to it,” Kemper said. “I have two kidneys, so I prayed about this and all signs pointed to ‘yes.’ So I know that I’m supposed to do this.”
According to the National Kidney Foundation, of the 96,000 Americans currently awaiting a kidney transplant, fewer than 17,000 actually receive one and 13 people are dying each day waiting for a kidney.
Kemper knows that his donation will be giving Waynesville resident Don Braner a second chance at life.
Kemper met Braner and learned about his kidney failure from his business partner Jesse Schaeffer, with whom he works at their company, Piping Design & Installation, located in Springboro.
“Jesse’s grandmother told me Don’s story,” Kemper said. “He has been on dialysis at least three years due to complications from diabetes, but the treatments are no longer as effective.”
When Kemper found out he had a matching blood type, O, he didn’t hesitate to offer his kidney to help Braner. “Jesse and I were both tested, but I was a better match,” Kemper said.
Kemper will take time out from his growing company to donate the kidney. Piping Design and Installation was founded by Schaeffer in 2011 while Kemper was working in a machine shop on third shift.
“Jesse had a few business partners that left, so he hired a few good people and wanted to grow the business,” Kemper said. “He couldn’t find anyone of like mind, and we’ve been friends more than 10 years.”
In November 2013 Kemper started working for Jesse and finally was able to quit his full-time job in April of last year to devote himself to the business. In June of last year, Kemper’s brother David joined the company.
With a talent for woodworking, the trio has teamed up on a side venture they run year-round (with a bigger focus during their slow months of December and January), that of handmade furniture.
“Jesse started making furniture in his spare time,” Kemper said. “And we all decided to do it. We were putting our heads together to think of a way to keep making money during the slow months, and there seems to be a market for our furniture.”
Using re-purposed wood from old barns and pallets, the Kemper brothers and Schaeffer make primarily coffee tables and other types of tables.
The furniture is marketed mostly through Kemper’s Facebook page and though they are just starting, they have sold a few pieces, through word of mouth.
Kemper speaks to Braner and his wife a few times a month. “They have let me know how much of a blessing it is that I decided to do this,” he said.
Kemper’s parents are Wendell and Cindy Kemper. Kemper said, “My dad is a Mason, and my mom is a pediatric nurse, and both always gave back to children. They set the tone, and it has always remained with me.”
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