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Rochester law enforcement agencies surprise fellow officer after heart transplant

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- Members of Rochester Police Department, Minnesota State Patrol and Olmsted County Sheriff's Office showed up at Mayo Clinic on Wednesday to surprise a fellow officer who recently received a heart transplant.

Detective Sgt. Tony Hart of East Grand Forks Police Department had been in Rochester since December, waiting for a heart transplant.

On March 1, he received a brand new heart, and Wednesday, he got the green light to go home.

His wife Katie got the idea to surprise him as he left the hospital, so she called Rochester police and asked if they could surprise him. RPD then invited Olmsted County Sheriff's Office and the State Patrol to join in.

Dozens of officers lined the entrance as Sgt. Hart came out of the doors, getting out of his wheel chair, walking with the help of his wife and nurse.

Hart was visibly overwhelmed with emotion, with tears in his eyes. He said he had no idea his wife had this planned.

"I had no idea, it was a big surprise. I know it wasn't a big ask, though. We support each other like this all the time," Hart said. "It is one big brotherhood, and I am just so thankful for everybody."

Rochester Police Sgt. Steve Thompson planned the surprise.

"When we got the call to help this fellow officer out, we didn't hesitate," Thompson said. "We needed make this happen. It's amazing."

Hart's wife was able to stay in the House of Shields in Rochester while he was getting treatment. It's an organization that gives law enforcement housing free of charge while they receive medical treatment.

Hart and Katie will be staying at the Gift of Life Transplant House in Rochester for the next three weeks before he goes home to East Grand Forks.

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Megan Zemple

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