ROSS TOWNSHIP, Ohio — You don’t often see a community and its police chief so thankful for each other as Ross residents and Chief Darryl Hausser.
Hausser told WCPO prayers and messages from the community saved his life until he got a kidney transplant and helped him return to work after months in the hospital.
“I was literally in the hospital for two months and that’s when I nearly lost my life. I lost about 70 pounds and was doing really, really bad,” Hausser said Monday.
“I have no doubt in my mind that got me through," he said.
“I can’t thank people enough. I’m kind of speechless when it comes to that.”
Now that Hausser, who’s been fighting an incurable autoimmune disease called scleroderma since 2016, has decided to retire, he calls the decision “bittersweet” but necessary – not only for his health and his family, but for the community.
Hausser’s disease causes swelling and hardening of skin and also can affect a patient's kidneys, lungs and heart.
Hausser, who has been Ross's chief since 2014, said he relied on dialysis treatments after he was diagnosed and received a donated kidney from a family friend in October.
Hausser said he and his wife spent the last five months talking it through before arriving at the decision to end his 31-year career in law enforcement.
The father of five and grandfather of five said he has a lot to look forward to and needs to take care of his health.
“I don’t know where the disease is going to take me, so I want to have some quality time with my wife and my children and grandchildren,” Hausser said.
"I don’t have the energy I once did. I can still cut my own grass, which is a milestone for me after getting sick!”
If you don’t live in Ross, you might know Hausser from his work stops with the Delhi Township and Colerain Township police. But his heart, he said, will always be with the community that supported him through his battle.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better community to work for,” Hausser said.
“When I got hired, the trustees at that time told me I’d be treated like family. They’ve absolutely lived up to that.
“I’m forever indebted to Ross Township for everything they’ve done for me.”
And the community feels the same way about Hausser.
“You’re never going to find someone that’s supported as much as he is,” said Jeff Thien, who works in Ross. “I’d just like to thank you for all your years of service.”
Thien said the Ross police reflect their chief’s integrity and professionalism.
“I had multiple interactions with the officers. They’re all fantastic, which is a direct result of their chief,” Thien said.
Summer Quincy said it was only natural for community members to hold fundraisers to help Hausser through his dark times.
“Since Ross is such a small town, we always try to find families to give back to,” Quincy said. “Since he’s police chief, that touched our hearts and we thought that’d be the perfect family to give to.
“I’d just like to thank him and his family for making a sacrifice for him to come back and help serve our community and keep us all safe after dealing with what he’s been through,” Quincy said.
Hausser plans to retire as of Sept. 1.