SILVERDALE, Wash. -

A U.S. Army veteran says he's incredibly grateful after receiving the kidney of a teenage Kitsap County girl who died after she fell off a ladder.

KOMO-TV reports  that 16-year-old Emily Ramm was climbing up a ladder at a construction site at Silverdale Elementary School on Aug. 13 to get a better view of a meteor shower when she fell.

She was an organ donor, and one of her kidneys was donated to Daniel Mendoza, who served 27 months in Iraq and returned to the U.S. with kidney failure.

Mendoza says he had been waiting more than four years for a new kidney. He says he's sorry for the family's immense loss, but that there are no words to describe how grateful he is.

The family has yet to meet face-to-face with Mendoza, who lives in Fredrickson near Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Tara Vasey, the girl's aunt, says she can't wait to meet Mendoza, and that her niece would have loved to know that the soldier received her kidney.