Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff honors local Lt. Col. battling cancer

6:17 AM, Aug 17, 2012   |    comments
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ROSEMOUNT, Minn. -- When it comes to show it's hard to beat the military. That was evident Thursday night at the Armory in Rosemount for a special retirement service.

Lt. Col. Mark Weber was being given the Legion of Merit award by General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the highest ranking military officer in the United States Armed Forces.

"I think the fact that he is here just speaks for itself," Weber said of having General Dempsey at his ceremony.

General Dempsey likely came for two reasons, first he and Lt. Col. Weber served together in Iraq and had formed a friendship and second, he knew Weber wouldn't be able to retire on his own terms.

"I hate to sound crude but he wants to make sure I get recognized for my service while I am still upright," Lt. Col. Weber said.

Weber has stage 4 gastrointestinal cancer, chemotherapy has stopped working and he is living with just 20 percent of his liver.

His isn't supposed to be alive today.

So on borrowed time he was allowed a last hurrah and a eulogy from his friend and mentor, General Dempsey.

"What is most important about Mark is who he is, not what he has done," General Dempsey said.

When he remarked on what lessons he learned from Lt. Col. Weber he said, "In many ways it can be a far higher ideal in life to live and ordinary life in an extraordinary way, I will always remember those lessons from Mark Weber."

General Dempsey pinned the Legion of Merit medal on Lt. Col. Weber for his years of service and Mark then took the time to make sure he said his most important thank you, publicly.

"I will focus on one and only one person," Weber said haltingly, "a woman who has stood with me every step of the way for the past 18 years, she is my hero."

Mark took his final bow and gave it to his wife, Kristin.
Kristin was also recognized for her years of service as Mark's wife and awarded a medal by General Dempsey.

(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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