Fallen Fox Lake Officer Remembered as Youth Mentor, Father to ‘Thousands' at Funeral

The father of four was the first on-duty officer who was shot and killed in Lake County in 35 years

Thousands of family, friends and coworkers gathered on Labor Day to mourn Fallen Fox Lake, Illinois, Lieutenant Joe Gliniewicz at his funeral service in Antioch.

Gliniewicz was remembered as a family man, a friend, a hard worker and a youth mentor. He had four sons of his own, but he was described at the funeral as a "dad to about 1,000 others" because of his commitment to Fox Lake's Explorers Post 300, a nonprofit that trains 14- to 21-year-olds for a career in law enforcement.

"He used every opportunity to turn his actions into teachable moments, " Gliniewicz's brother said during the service.

Gliniewicz was on the brink of retiring after a 30-year career in law enforcement when he was gunned down in the line of duty last week.

He was the first on-duty officer who was shot and killed in Lake County in 35 years. Many expressed that they were not only grieving for the loss of an officer, but also for the loss of a family man, a friend and valued member of the community.

The fallen officer's brother also praised him for his heroic actions.

"When we were growing up, we always knew he was a hero, but now the whole nation knows him as a hero," he said.

At the beginning of the service, Gliniewicz was posthumously awarded the Fox Lake Police Department's "Medal of Honor."

The slain officer was also remembered for his courage in the line of duty, and several coworkers said they always looked up to him.

"He was the kind of man who in the face of danger would run towards it, while others ran away," Officer Rachel Smithberg, of the Joliet Police Department, said. "His dedication was unshakable, and his courage was unwavering." 

Before the funeral, hundreds more lined up for a public viewing at Antioch High School to pay tribute to Gliniewicz.

“He was just a good man, always had a smile on his face, always,” Davis Kennedy said.

“It’s a sad day but hopefully this is kind of a testament to the American spirit and how people really are,” said Kathleen Villagomez, the wife of a police officer.

Following the service was a procession to Hillside East Cemetery (450 East Depot Street, Antioch), where Gliniewicz will be laid to rest.

The funeral procession wound through Antioch and Fox Lake, past the police department where Gliniewicz served, past the schools where he worked with young people and through the downtown he patrolled.

“The sadness pervades the entire community,” said Joe Ahern, CEO of 100 Club of Chicago. “But you can also see the resolve in the police department and all the state and local law enforcement that are here to help catch these guys.”

While the manhunt for his killers intensifies, businesses and residents in the Chain O' Lakes region continue to show their support to the police force and wife and four sons he left behind.

“The outpouring of support from the Fox Lake Community and the area surrounding us has been unbelievably tremendous,” said Lake County sheriff's Detective Chris Covelli.

For businesses who worked closely with the department, the loss is especially painful.

"We lost a very, very great officer,” said Mario Martinez, who has owned local the local lakefront landmark Dockers restaurant for more than 18 years. “It's a shame what happens to a community, what else can I say.”

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