MCMECHEN, WV (WTRF) – Two first responders in Marshall County, West Virginia are receiving support from all over the area, and even stretching as far as the west coast during a difficult time.
Cancer— it’s a word no one wants to hear. But that’s the tough reality Marshall County Sheriff Deputy Nate Klempa is facing with his K9 Spartan. But he’s not doing it alone.
Spartan is a six-year-old giant schnauzer and a K9 for Marshall County Sheriff’s office. But above all of that, he’s his handler Nate’s best friend.
The better K9’s and handlers will team up. It’s almost as if they’re one. The k9’s go with their handlers everywhere. They don’t stay here at the office when the handlers go home. They live with them. They’re part of their family. They’re really close.BILL HELMS – CHIEF DEPUTY, MCSO
They never leave each other’s side. They’re both goofy.ELLIOT RYBSKI – #SPARTANSTRONG
Nate and Spartan have made a great team over the last 5 years. Together, they’ve helped to clean countless drugs off the streets in Marshall County.
Spartan does a great job, and again, Nate. I couldn’t ask for a better handler. So, they’ve been a pretty successful team, and they have made some good arrests over the years.BILL HELMS – CHIEF DEPUTY, MCSO
But after a routine bath, Nate found the unimaginable. A lump. And on March 10 his worst nightmare was confirmed. Spartan has stage 4 lymphoma.
Deputy Klempa called me that day and I could hear it in the sound of his voice. He was bummed out, and I had an instant knot in my stomach.ANDREW MCCOMBS – SGT. MCMECHEN POLICE DEPARTMENT
But when Nate’s world came to a halt, the community stepped in. After the word was out, support began trickling in. Within hours, the Facebook page “Spartan Strong” was flooded with photos with the hashtag #Spartanstrong.
Now, these signs flood the streets of McMechen. A drive through the town or a scroll through Facebook will show you just how much K9 Spartan and deputy Nate Klempa mean to the community.
You never know quite what to do, and everyone wants to do something. And you don’t want it to be sad to have a constant reminder of that. So, we wanted to give a place for people to go and share stories and pictures so Nate can see how important they both are. And not just as officers.TERRI LINDSEY – OWNER, HAPPY TAILS
Shine light on the darkness and give support from a distance. You never want to overwhelm someone, but we thought if he’s driving around, he doesn’t have to make the personal communication with people, but he can still know we’re there.DANIELLE RYBSKI – #SPARTANSTRONG
And with support from around the Ohio Valley and even Florida, Wisconsin, and Washington– the signs, posts, and stickers simply prove there is no difficulty that enough love won’t conquer.
I love him very much.EASTON RYBSKI – #SPARTANSTRONG
It’s an outpouring of love. What’s better than that?BILL HELMS – CHIEF DEPUTY, MCSO
Although Spartan and Nate have a long road ahead of them, they now know the entire community has their six.
If you would like to support Nate and K9 Spartan on their journey, you can follow the “Spartan Strong” Facebook page and pick up stickers outside of Happy Trails in McMechen.