MANSFIELD, Ohio-- A young officer and recent newlywed, Ryan Garner, appeared to be the picture of health.
"He is one of the healthiest people that I know. Extremely physically fit and active outside of the Mansfield Police Department and was extremely excited becoming one of our newest K9 handlers with the division and took great pride in having one of the police dogs assigned to him," said Assistant Police Chief Keith Porch.
"Through that injury it was discovered that not only did he have a small fractured back, but cancer," said Porch.
An officer who never smoked and took exceptional care of himself diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.
"Everyone was just solemnly quiet, a little bit of disbelief. Nobody wanted to hear this come in. These are our sisters and brothers and I was just really, I was in tears," said Nettie Ballard, a police department aide.
The department immediately rallied to do whatever they could to show their support.
The department and officers' wives quickly sold out of a first order of bracelets at $5 each that read: 'in this family nobody fights alone,' along with Garner's badge number: 248.
And as word quietly spread, the community has joined in.
"It just really hit me hard, being a graduate from, we are the same age and graduated together so I called some classmates and sent some messages that night and said, 'what can we do?'" said Karling Ward, who knew both Garner and his wife at Ontario High School.
Ward decided to set up a Go Fund Me account.
"To be honest, I started the goal for a thousand dollars and that was reached probably within a couple of hours so I just had to keep raising the goal but really all the credit here, our community has shown just how amazing it is to be from here," she said.
As of Monday afternoon, contributions totaled more than $8,000.
Members of the local Fraternal Order of Police pitched in and surprised Garner with a new flat screen television that can be mounted in his bedroom along with a game system and a back support so he can sit up in bed.
People from across the community have come to the department asking to pitch in.
"I had a citizen call and come up this morning with cash money to put in the envelope because he just felt the need to share what he has and to support the group," said Ballard.
"The whole entire community, everyone, all departments, all divisions, citizens, civilians, lay people, everyone is concerned right now about Officer Garner. He touched so many lives; this is the outpouring of love," added Ballard.