COLUMBIA CITY, Ind. (WANE) – A Whitley County Sheriff’s Department K-9 killed in the line of duty was honored at the annual Veterans Marathon in Columbia City this weekend.
Sydney Munro, 12, of Harrod, Ohio woke up at three in the morning to make the drive Columbia City to run in the half-marathon race. It was not her first half-marathon but it was her first time running with a flag on her back to honor a fallen K-9.
“I’ve ran with canines but never for one,” said Munro. “Mom told me Cas’ story and I just thought I am doing this. Like, I have to.”
Whitley County Sheriff’s Department K-9 Cas died on July 10, after her handler’s car was hit by a fleeing vehicle on U-S 30 northwest of Columbia City. The car caught fire and officers on scene were unable to get Cas out. It is not the first flag that has been given to Cas’ handler in her honor since the accident but it will still have a special place in his heart.
“This flag is very special to me and I’ve seen so many flags folded this year for Cas,” said Deputy Gary Archbold, her handler. “Each one of them holds a special place in my heart.”
Sydney said it was just as meaningful of a moment for her because she understands how important pets can be to their owners.
“It was a big moment for him and me at the same time because that was a big piece of his life,” said Munro. “That was his dog and losing a family member is just like losing a dog.”
Archbold had Cas for two years, first with the Columbia City Police Department and then with the sheriff’s department. He said one of the things that has touched him the most is how Cas’ story has brought people together.
“I’m really overwhelmed most of the time by how much Cas brought our community and other communities together,” said Archbold. Archbold has a new K-9 companion who he named Whitley, after the community that supported the department through their loss.
Munro was connected with Cas through Flags4Fallen, an organization that recruits runners to carry flags in honor of families who lost loved ones too soon. Cas’ flag was the group’s 400 flag to cross a finish line over 40 states.