May 17, 2021

Local man in need of kidney transplant

(Franklin/Times~Journal) — Walter “Boot” Watkins of Heard County, was diagnosed with late-stage kidney disease. He’s had to start dialysis, hooking up three times a week to a machine that filters his blood.

“It wipes you out,” Walter says. “But right now that is what is keeping me alive.”

Walter was born and raised in Heard County and graduated from Heard High in 1985. In 2005, Walter worked as a reserve police officer for Montgomery, Alabama and the City of Franklin Police.

Walter “Boot” Watkins

He was a volunteer firefighter for the City of Franklin, and was also “Smokey the Bear” for four years for the volunteer fire department.

Walter worked for the City of Carrollton for 16 years before having to retire early because of the health issues with his kidneys.

Walter is on the waiting list along with 95,000 other Americans.

In a typical year just one in five of them will get a transplant. One in 10 would die or become too sick and drop off the list.

Walter is reaching out to the Heard County community today for your help and prayers. Walter needs a kidney donor. If you would like to donate one of your kidneys, the first step for you as a potential donor is to go online and visit to complete the Living Donor Screening Questionnaire.

If you don’t have access to a computer you may call 1-855-Emorytx (366-7989) and register for an interview. After completing the questionnaire, you will receive further communication from Emory Donor Screen outlining your next step.

If you would like to help financially, Walter’s friends have set up donation jars at the Franklin Pharmacy, Cazadores Mexican Cantina & Grill in Franklin and Hog Wallar restaurant in Centralhatchee.

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