Community shows support at McHenry County deputy's funeral procession
As the funeral procession passed along Route 47 in Woodstock, some people held their hands over their hearts and others dabbed at tears in what they knew was a sad but necessary tribute Wednesday for someone who mattered.
Most of the hundreds who lined the curbs of a two-block commercial stretch did not know McHenry County Deputy Jacob Keltner. Some knew when they heard of his death last week they would go wherever needed to pay tribute. Others decided spontaneously. All shared a purpose.
"We're all competitors but at a time like this, we're all brothers," said Marty Robb, owner of Rex Towing Inc., in McHenry. Trucks from five other companies were there, too, parked in a single group.
"Unless it's an emergency, any tows will wait," he added. "It's more important to show some respect."
The parking lot of the shuttered Bohn's Ace Hardware became a base for a united group of onlookers; some had waited undeterred for hours for the procession to arrive.
Onlookers had a clear view as a line of hundreds of police vehicles, lights flashing, snaked down a hill from the north for 45 minutes.
Representatives from the Woodstock Fire/Rescue District and other departments joined the spectators.
"For as often as we work together, we're here to support them and they support us," Capt. Scott Neiman said.
That was true as well for Travis McDonald, a former McHenry County sheriff's deputy who left the force in 2015 after 11 years for a new profession in financial services. With him were his wife, Kelly, son, Spencer, 10, and daughter, Charlie, 7.
"We took the day off and took the kids out of school. We think it's important for them to pay their respects to law enforcement," McDonald said.
The family and others also were here in 2015 for the procession of another McHenry County deputy, Dwight W. Maness, who died as a result of injuries in an ambush in Holiday Hills.
"Two of his friends have died now," Dale Vogel said of his son, a McHenry County sheriff's deputy who rode in the procession. What happened is unnerving, Vogel said, but the outpouring of community support is a comfort for all law enforcement.
Mention was made of the "Blue Lives Matter" slogan.
"That's for sure," said Vogel's wife, Linda. "Every one of them. Every single one of them."