AYER -- When Terri Fuhs was undergoing treatment at Boston Medical Center for her multiple myeloma, the one thing on her mind was returning to her job as a dispatcher in Ayer.

"Every time that we went for her appointment in Boston, she would speak with her doctor and say, 'OK, what do I have to do next, you've got to get me better, I've got to get back to work,'" said her daughter, Mindy LeBlanc.

The whole focus for her mother, LeBlanc said, was getting back to work.

Fuhs passed away on Aug. 1 at 58 after battling the cancer for more than a year and devoting more than four years of service to the department.

Members of Ayer's police force remember Fuhs as one of their own who was great at her job.

"She had a take-no-bullcrap personality and always told you how it was, but was the biggest softy ever," said Det. Kellie Barhight.

Barhight also remembers Fuhs' love of the Red Sox.

"We could never tell her the score of any game because if she was working and couldn't watch it, she had it recorded to watch when she got home," she said.

Fuhs was also a great listener and friend, Barhight said.

"We lost a good one in the business," she said. "I will miss her."

Officer Matthew Callahan, who worked the evening shift with Fuhs for four years, remembers her as someone who knew how to deal with internal and external problems.

"She worked well under pressure," he said.


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"And it's a difficult job because you have to deal with absolutely everything that comes in and decide what deserves the police officer's attention or the fire department's attention and what doesn't."

Fuhs was very good at that, Callahan said, and didn't become cynical or worn-out.

"She was a really special lady to me and I'm going to miss her," he said. "It's kind of hard to put into words."

Lt. Brian Gill said Fuhs was a member of the department's family.

"Even though she had to retire because of her illness, she was still close with everybody here," he said.

Fuhs, who previously served as a dispatcher in Fitchburg, came to Ayer's police department in 2009 and stopped her service in January as she underwent treatment. She lived in Shirley.

After her husband passed away from cancer, Fuhs needed to find a full-time job, said LeBlanc.

"She's really good on her feet, really kind of like a calming spirit in times of stress," she said. "I'm not exactly sure how she came into dispatching, but it was a really good fit for her."

LeBlanc said her mother was proud of her work at the Police Department and adored the people she worked with.

"I think that it just gave her life so much meaning once she started working for the Police Department," she said. "She was an extremely kind and caring person, and this allowed her to extend that kindness and care to the people that she came in contact with."

LeBlanc said everyone she speaks with tells her that they felt an instant connection with her mother.

"When you spoke to her, she really cared about you and paid attention to what you were saying," she said. "And I think because of that part of her, there's a lot of people that feel a strong connection to her."

In February, a large crowd showed up at Billiard's Cafe to raise more than $3,000 for Fuhs.

LeBlanc said the family is grateful for all the support from the fundraiser, calls, texts and emails.

"There's just so many people from the police departments that have reached out to us and have reached out and supported my mom all this time," she said. "There's just a brotherhood amongst them, it's amazing."