FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. — For those dreading the work week ahead: take heart.
For one Virginia man, US Customs and Border Protection Officer Carlos Marquez, getting back to work involved a battle against certain death.
On Sunday, about a hundred of his fellow public safety officers in Northern Virginia gave him a welcome back to remember.
Justin Burl, a friend and colleague, said Marquez received a dire diagnosis of lung cancer in 2018.
“He’s a man with a genuine heart, a big heart, loves to serve others. Will do anything for you will give the shirt off his back,” said Burl.
Burl said it was unclear if he’d ever return to the line of duty.
“He overcame a long battle with cancer, a very courageous battle, so this is just our way of saying welcome back to the force," Burl said.
Burl organized a welcome back that brought together about a hundred people and a dozen agencies in the Northern Virginia public safety ‘family,' including Fairfax County police and fire, Virginia State Police, Herndon Police, VDOT and the Metro Washington Airport Authority.
They lined up to give Marquez a surprise welcome back. Marquez was told he was going out for brunch.
“Honestly I got scared, I thought Oh my god there’s an accident going on, but then my wife said no that’s for me. I started crying because I couldn’t believe it they did this for me. I really appreciate it.”
Marquez’ first official day back to work is Monday.