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Staunton Police Remember a Sergeant Lost to Cancer - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Staunton Police Remember a Sergeant Lost to Cancer

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For the second time in three years, the Staunton Police Department says goodbye to a veteran officer who lost a battle with cancer.

A memorial service Thursday united the family, friends and colleagues of Sergeant Mark Diehl.

When Staunton Police Sergeant Tom Larner, who died in 2010, was battling cancer, one of his closest and most supportive friends in the department was Mark Diehl. But Diehl contracted pancreatic cancer in fall of 2011, and succumbed to the disease on Monday, at the age of 44.

The service for Diehl took place at Calvary Baptist Church in Staunton. Diehl was a 20-year member of Staunton's police force, and had served on the SWAT team and as lead detective.

He continued working for a full year after his cancer diagnosis. The department's chief, Jim Williams, says Diehl's dedication and zeal cannot be replaced.

"Mark was a bulldog. He's one of the strongest people that we've had. When he was initially diagnosed, I suggested that he come in the office so he could do his chemo and things. He didn't want to be reassigned; he wanted to stay on the shift," Williams said.

At the end of the ceremony, Diehl's ashes and an American flag were presented to his wife, Lisa Klein, herself a member of the Staunton Police Department.

For the past three years, the department has hosted the Tom Larner 5k Run. Chief Williams says when the event returns this May, some of the proceeds will benefit pancreatic cancer research in honor of Diehl.

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