AKRON, N.Y. (WIVB)- The Akron community is mourning the loss of Buffalo Police K-9 Officer and Diver Craig Lehner. He graduated from Akron High School in 2001.
Principal Joe Lucenti will be among the thousands of people to attend Officer Lehner’s funeral Wednesday at Key Bank Center.
Looking back at Officer Lehner’s senior yearbook, Principal Lucenti showed us how many lives his former student touched.
“We were a better school because of Craig and I think Buffalo and Western New York was better because he was part of those who serve,” said Principal Lucenti. “He will be missed.”
Officer Lehner was a football player and ran track. He played the saxophone in the concert band and was willing to get to school an hour early on some days, to rehearse with the jazz band.
His senior quote and final message to his classmates before graduation reads, in part, “Always try your best…”
Principal Lucenti said Officer Lehner lived by those words.
“Absolutely dependable, absolutely steady, he could be of a little bit of a class clown once in a while, brought a smile to people’s faces,” said Principal Lucenti. “The one word you hear from everyone who is still here, who knew him, is he indeed commanded respect, he earned respect.”
He told News 4 teachers remember the young Craig Lehner as a hard-working student who gave to others.
Principal Lucenti felt a special connection to Lehner. Lucenti started in Akron in 1997, Lehner’s freshman year.
Now 20 years later, he will attend his student’s funeral. Four student council officers will accompany him.
There will be a moment of silence Wednesday morning at the High School. Everyone in the district will wear blue to honor Officer Lehner and support his family and all law enforcement officers.
Principal Lucenti said he hopes Officer Lehner’s legacy will inspire his students to live their lives giving to others.
“He taught every one of us, including myself, what it means to serve, that we are called to be men and women of others, not just ourselves,” said Lucenti. “We were lucky to have Craig and we should be thankful for that.”