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Lakeland officer who survived cancer three times honored with Hometown Hero ride with Thunderbirds

Posted at 5:51 PM, Apr 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-07 18:41:55-04

LAKELAND, Fla. — The country’s most elite military demonstration team is recognizing a Lakeland Police sergeant.

Sgt. Chad Mumbauer doesn’t consider himself a hero.

“I don’t feel like a hero or anything like that but I'm very, very humbled and very appreciative of everyone that put me in for this,” said Chad Mumbauer, Sergeant of Lakeland Police Department’s Special Operations Unit.

Serving on the Lakeland Police force for nearly three decades, Mumbauer leads the SWAT team.

Sgt. Chad Mumbauer (right)

“I like what I do. I like helping people, whether it be as minute as something as giving directions, but if you can help one person and see that they’re thankful, it’s worth getting out of bed for,” said Mumbauer.

He continued protecting and serving his community even as he battled brain cancer... not once, but three times.

Doctors found a tumor in his frontal lobe in 2010. It was removed but the cancer returned in 2015 and chemotherapy treatments followed. In 2020 he underwent awake brain surgery to have the cancer removed again.

“Everyone says take it a day at a time. I was taking an hour at a time. So that’s my advice to everyone, it's just make it to the next hour,” Mumbauer said.

While conquering cancer he achieved his goal to climb Mount St. Helens.

“If someone can see my story and go, 'alright if he can do that. I can get out of bed and my story’s not so bad,' said Mumbauer.

For this reason, Mumbauer was selected as the hometown hero, to ride with the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds. To so many at the Lakeland Police Department, Mumbauer is the epitome of having the heart of a warrior.


“He is an example to me as a captain each day as I approach difficulties in my job, to view them the way he does. He motivates all of us to find a better answer,” said Capt. Tye Thompson.

For Mumbauer, leading by example is what life is all about.

“If you can use my story or someone, and I can motivate one person, the power of one. My mission on earth is done,” said Mumbauer.