RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif. (KTXL) — The Rancho Cordova community honored and remembered a fallen deputy on the anniversary of his death Friday, erecting a permanent memorial in his honor.
It’s been three years to the day since Sacramento County Sheriff’s Deputy Mark Stasyuk died in the line of duty, and Rancho Cordova city leaders unveiled a new sculpture to make sure his memory will live on for years to come.
“It’s the same day, same weather, and it just drudges up all those feelings again,” Rancho Cordova Mayor Garrett Gatewood told FOX40.
Sept. 17, the day Stasyuk was shot and killed while responding to an argument at a local tire shop, is a day the family and fellow officers of Stasyuk will never forget.
“We are such a tight-knit community that it hurt us to the bone to see one of our own taken from us in the way he did,” Gatewood said.
In the weeks following Stasyuk’s death, community members showed their support by tieing blue ribbons around trees and leaving cards and flowers for his family.
But now, a permanent memorial in his honor stands in front of the department he proudly served.
“We never want to forget,” Gatewood explained. “Rancho Cordova has a very long memory, and the citizens need to know that the people who give their lives for us are remembered.”
The sculpture took almost two years to create, and every detail holds great meaning.
“The form of the sculpture is actually 5 foot 10 inches. It’s the height of officer Mark Stasyuk,” sculpture artist Terrie Bennett said.
An eagle perched on top represents the love he had for his country, and an American flag, along with a Russian bible verse on the back, represents Stasyuk’s heritage.
“Thanks to modern technology, we were actually able to take his badge, and we had it 3D printed and enlarged, so it actually has his energy on it,” Bennett explained.
The lower half of the sculpture depicts Stasyuk fishing, hiking and embracing his newlywed wife — all things he loved dearly.
“To show what he loved and also what he lost in his life,” Bennett said.
Although the sculpture artist never met Stasyuk, she has a feeling he approves of the new memorial in his honor.
“I know Mark is here. We felt him when we installed the sculpture,” Bennett said. “The second we set it down on the base, the crane, it started pouring rain. We all started crying, and we really felt his presence here.”
At the end of Friday’s ceremony, an eagle circled above as his family laid flowers at the sculpture’s base.
The sculpture cost the city about $300,000, and the mayor told FOX40 much of that was donated by community members who wanted to honor Stasyuk’s memory.