BABERTON -- From a young age, Daniel Shobe knew he wanted to be in the military. When he was a junior in high school, he signed up for the Marines.
"They're the best," he explains. "If you're going tojoin the military, you've got to join the best."
Now 26 years old, Daniel has served in Afghanistan, though wherever he's been in the world, he's kept close tabs on what was going on back home in Barberton.
While Daniel was fighting oversees, his father, Larry, was fighting for his life. After years of health issues, the prognosis turned grim in 2006.Doctors told Larry he had a terminal liver disease.
"It was diagnosed as primary sclerosing cholangitis," Larry says. "(That's a) big long medial term, and it basically attacks the liver."
The course of action would require a sacrifice, one Larry's son, the Marine, was willing to make.
Daniel would become a living donor and give part of his healthy liver to his father.
"I had a man-to-man talk with him," says Larry. "Told him what risks that I knew of as far as he was concerned. Told him that I had other options that I could follow if he didn't want to be a donor. He said, 'Yes, yes, yes,' over and over."
On July 22, father and son went to the hospital for the transplant surgery at the Cleveland Clinic.
"I was more concerned for his safety than mine," says Larry. "Obviously, I'm older and I've lived a good life. He's young and got life full ahead of him, so that was kind of weight heavy on my heart, but he didn't seem to hesitate."
The surgery was a success. Daniel gave his father two-thirds of his own liver, and, after months in the hospital, father and son are now recovering together.
Daniel has one more year left in the Marines, and will serve it at Walter Reed Hospital helping would warriors and their families.
His father will now carry a piece of his son with him for the rest of his life along with tremendous admiration.
"He's one of my biggest heros," says Larry."Not only has he gone overseas and fought for the freedom of all of us, he's given me new life."
There will be a fundraiser for the Shobe Family Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Casa Del Ranchero restaurant located at 562 W. Tuscarawas Ave. in Barberton.
You can also make a gift donation at any First Merit bank to the Shobe Family Benevolent Fund.