Local 45 members Bob Hug and Ryan Whaley.

Newport, KY Local 45 member Bob Hug spent every day helping his community until, one day, he was the one who needed help. Hug’s only kidney was failing, and he needed a transplant.

After not finding success with multiple potential donors, he turned to the community. Dozens of people got tested to see if their kidneys were a match. After testing, it turned out that fellow fire fighter and Local 45 Vice President Ryan Whaley was compatible.

“It was a no-brainer for me,” said Whaley. “My brother fire fighter needed my help to save his life. So, when I learned I was a match, the decision to move forward was easy.”

Hug and Whaley were both members of Erlanger, KY Local 4206 before switching departments and becoming members of Local 45. They have spent the last 12 years on the job together.

After two successful surgeries on Oct. 17, Hug and Whaley have received overwhelming support from their union family. As Cincinnati Local 48 was the closest local to the hospital, Local 48 members supported the families during their hospital stays.

Local 45 members are supporting their brothers’ full recovery by working Hug’s shifts and donating leave time to Whaley.

“Local 45 has been proud to support Brother Hug in his time of need. All of us have been working his shifts leading up to the surgery and will continue to do so until he is fully recovered,” said Local 45 President Jake Silvati. “And we are all especially thankful for Brother Whaley and what he was able to do for Bob.”

Whaley is expected to return to the job mid-December, while Hug is expected to return in January 2023.