Bride Walked Down the Aisle by the Man Who Received Her Late Father’s Heart

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Courtesy Laurenreneedesigns.com

Courtesy Laurenreneedesigns.com

A Virginia bride was given an emotional gift this past weekend when the man who received her father’s heart after his death walked her down the aisle.

A decade ago, Jeni Maenner’s father Paul was killed during a robbery. Maenner spoke about her father’s death with ABC News, saying:

“It was unbelievably shocking to our family. It was a very quick ordeal. My father had been shot through his temples. He was so charismatic and he was such an athlete. He played baseball religiously and tried out for the Pittsburgh Pirates in the ’70s. He was very caring. He really wanted the best for us girls, and my mom.”

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Two days after Paul Maenner’s death, Arthur “Tom” Thomas received his heart as part of an organ donation. Thomas and the younger Maenner have been exchanging letters and gifts since the donation, and as her wedding approached Maenner sent Thomas an invitation. The letter read: “Tom, I’m the daughter of the man whose heart’s inside you, and I’m going to get married on Aug. 6. One further thing, if you’re willing — would you walk me down the aisle?”

Thomas accepted the invitation, and walked Maenner down the aisle. In describing the moment to ABC, the bride said, “The day was absolutely, incredibly perfect. Before we walked down the aisle, we had this moment where he said, ‘If it’s OK with you, when I’m ready to offer your hand to your husband, you can touch my chest and feel my heart.’ It was so awesome to have a piece of my father physically there.”

Courtesy Laurenreneedesigns.com

Courtesy Laurenreneedesigns.com

She went on to explain the important role Thomas played in her ceremony.

“I had a father-daughter dance with him and one special dance with my mom. We just talked the whole time and smiled at each other. I was just so blessed that he was there with us,” said Maenner.

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