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A community remembers KDPS officer as a ‘fighter’

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KALAMAZOO, Mich. — It was hard finding a parking space at the Langeland Family Funeral Home Sunday evening for Kalamazoo Public Safety Sgt. Lisa Zuk's visitation. People came by foot, car, and even horse to pay their respects to Zuk, who lost her battle with breast cancer earlier in the week.

KDPS Deputy Chief Karianne Thomas said Zuk fought cancer for more than two years.

"She was very courageous, she was fun, she was just an incredible woman," Thomas said. "You can't choose how you're going to die, but Lisa could choose how she was going to live."

Sgt. Lisa Zuk, 37, chose to live her life in an effort to save others. Thomas told FOX 17 Zuk's visitation was a time to honor the courageous life Zuk lived.

"During her short life, she gave to so many in this community. She was a great officer, she had a great wit, she was great to work with, and great to be around." Thomas added that Zuk was very open during her fight with breast cancer.

Funeral for Kalamazoo Public Safety Sgt. Lisa Zuk

Funeral for Kalamazoo Public Safety Sgt. Lisa Zuk

"We knew every step of the way what she was going through, and we all tried to fight it with her," Thomas said. "It was really her battle, and it effected all of us the whole time since her diagnosis until her loss this week."

Sgt. Zuk started her career when she was 22, joining the Kalamazoo Department of Public safety back in 2001.

"That's young," Thomas said. "We all grow up here. We all grow up together. She was just a fighter. She was always the strong person: you saw that during her battle, she became even stronger." Thomas first learned of Zuk's diagnoses of breast cancer in August 2013.

During her fight with breast cancer, the 14-year veteran continued living her life to save others, working as a public safety officer, K-9 handler, field training officer, and recruiter in the Edison neighborhood.

But Sgt. Zuk was best known for driving her pink patrol car, given to her as a gift from KDPS.

Funeral for Kalamazoo Public Safety Sgt. Lisa Zuk

Funeral for Kalamazoo Public Safety Sgt. Lisa Zuk

"It was a tribute," Thomas said. "It's a tribute today and a tribute to every breast cancer survivor and everyone battling breast cancer. We'll take her family with us. They'll always be a part of our law enforcement and public safety family, but she taught us all a lot, and we all treasure that."

An account has been set up at Lake Michigan Credit Union under "Zuk Benefit Fund" to help her loved ones, including her 3-year-old daughter. Donations can be made at any branch.

Sgt. Zuk's funeral will be held Dec. 7 at Valley Family Church in Kalamazoo at 11 a.m.

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