Tim Ervin had played the national anthem on his trumpet countless times. However, Monday night was the first time he played it with someone else’s lungs in front of 20,000 people.
The 59-year-old church music leader from Mt. Pleasant, Texas received a double-lung transplant in 2014 after his own lungs began to fail him in 2009 due to pulmonary fibrosis.
Before the Dallas Mavericks hosted the Golden State Warriors, Ervin played a beautiful rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, not only to honor our country and those who fight for it, but to recognize his donor.
“There’s not a day that goes by I don’t think about my donor,” he told CBSDFW. “I don’t know who it is, but they are my hero, and always will be.”
Have a listen to his performance:
According to WFAA8, Ervin got his chance to play thanks to meeting fellow lung transplant recipient and assistant equipment manager, Neil Herskowitz, who underwent a successful surgery two years ago.
The men met at UT Southwestern’s annual transplant reunion dinner, where Ervin played the national anthem. Word got around to Herskowitz that Ervin’s dream was to play before a professional sporting event. It would be a far cry from where he was three years ago, when he put his trumpet back in its case due to no longer having the lung power to play.
“I thought it would be kind of cool if we could work that out,” Herskowitz told DallasNews.
So, Herskowitz got to work, and made it happen before one of the NBA’s most highly-anticipated games of the regular season.
And, Ervin, although nervous before stepping up to center court, nailed it, showing an entire NBA crowd the power of organ donation.
“I’ve had literally over a hundred people come to me and say I’m an organ donor now, because of you,” he told WFAA8. “Organ donors are heroes. Because they are thinking way beyond themselves.”
And that’s worth a standing ovation.