The family of fallen Buffalo Police Officer Craig Lehner says they are stronger because of the Western New York community.
“I really think what's helping us get through everything is just knowing that there's so many people behind us that love us and are supporting us and really, really care,” said Donna Wilson, Officer Lehner’s sister.
Wilson attended a ceremony in memory of her brother at Emmet Belknap Intermediate School in Lockport on Monday. Afterwards, she opened up to 7 Eyewitness News about Lehner and what life has been like for her family over the last month.
Wilson says she lives in Lockport and had been picking up her daughters from school the day her brother disappeared.
“I clicked on Facebook and the first thing that came up was the article about a missing diver,” said Wilson.
She knew her brother was a diver for the Buffalo Police Department, but didn’t know whether he was diving that day.
“I got right off of Facebook, got on my phone, and texted him and was like please tell me right now that's not you they're looking for,” she said.
Wilson says a few minutes later, she received a call confirming her worst fear.
Wilson tells us planning his funeral was equally as taxing.
“We want to do right by him. We wanted it to be beautiful, and show that they're important. What they do is important,” she said.
Since then, from the blue porch lights to blue pumpkins, she says there is some comfort in seeing signs of support.
“The fact that they did pumpkins hold sentimental value to us because we loved fall. We loved Halloween,” said Wilson.
Nearly a month later, Wilson says she’s proud of how her brother has been portrayed in public.
“They've done a good job showing just who he was: charismatic, funny, friendly.”
Wilson says the community’s acts of kindness, like the ceremony in Lockport, certainly help dealing with the loss of her brother.
“I really think I'd be a blubbering mess and not get out of bed if I didn't feel all this love and support,” said Wilson.