ST. FRANCIS, Minn. -- Jake Rehling spent less than a year as the top cop in St. Francis, but he was no stranger to the police department there.
The 17-year veteran of the force was appointed chief in April of 2016 he passed away on Nov. 16 after more than a year old battle with Lymphoma his friends and family thought he had beaten.
“He was the strongest man I know,” friend Will Newstrom said at Rehling's service on Saturday. “He never complained about his diagnosis, at least that I know of.”
Newstrom now works in law enforcement himself. Newstrorm says when he was nine years old, Rehling responded to a domestic call at his home between his parents and ever since then he says Rehling took him under his wing.
"I don't know where I would be if his wasn't pushing me, and pushing me. He always told me to get going and never give up."
Rehling was only 41 years old when he died last week. Hundreds of people attended his service in St. Francis. Law enforcement officers from all over Minnesota showed their support by also attending his service and took part in a mile long procession that traveled around the city limits.
"We've had neighborhood picnics, Jake has been part of the group that comes out and meets the kids. Everyone liked him," Jackie Eifert says.
Eifert and her husband live just outside of town and stood along the highway to watch the procession pass by their neighborhood with American flags and a sign that read, “Thank You Jake.”
Rehling is survived by his wife and son.