Deputy diagnosed with cancer dies
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Kanawha County Sheriff Cpl. Greg Eplin died Friday, losing a more than one-year battle with cancer.
In June 2011, Eplin was diagnosed with Stage Four colon cancer. The deputy, who has been a member of the Sheriff's Department since 1997, had no history of cancer in his family and showed no symptoms, the Gazette previously reported.
Eplin was moved to the Critical Care Unit at Logan Regional Medical Center Wednesday.
After his initial diagnosis, Eplin went to the M.D. Anderson Cancer Treatment Center at the University of Texas, nationally known for its expertise in cancer treatment. There, doctors recommended an aggressive barrage of chemotherapy, the Gazette previously reported.
The Kanawha County Sheriff's Association stepped in numerous times to raise money to help pay for Eplin's travel expenses and medical bills through a series of hot dog sales, private donations and other fundraisers.
In October of this past year, deputies had raised about $60,000.
John Rutherford, former Kanawha County Sheriff Deputy Chief who is running for Sheriff in the upcoming election, called Eplin "a great guy," in a public post on Facebook Saturday.
"He will be missed so much. One year and four months ago, he found out he had cancer. But Greg was a fighter he gave it everything he had and never gave up," the post said. "He loved his wife Angie, his family and his KCSO family so much."
Rutherford said during Eplin's treatment the deputy "never complained. Instead, he was worried about his family and friends."
During Eplin's treatment, the sheriff's department assigned Eplin to go through a three-year backlog of evidence files.
"It's tedious work, but it has to be done," Eplin told the Gazette in October. Eplin, however, was thankful for something to do. "If I didn't have something to do, I'd go crazy. I've worked my entire life."
"For those that knew him, never forget that smile because that was Greg he always had it with him," Rutherford wrote.
Reached by telephone Saturday, Sheriff Mike Rutherford said some deputies, as well as family members, were with Eplin when he died Friday night.
Rutherford said Eplin and his family were so thankful to everyone who helped with the fundraisers. "It was an amazing turnout," the sheriff said.
Many people make nice comments about the dead, he said. "But he was truly a nice guy and a gentleman. He was even well-respected by the people he had to deal with in court. We even heard from some people he had to deal with in court who said he was always fair with them.
"He was a good officer and a good friend. We will miss him.
"It has been a tough week for law enforcement. Not only Greg, but the two troopers, and we had some retirees to die also."