BLUFFTON, Ohio (WJW) – Dominic “Dom” Francis was honored by thousands before being laid to rest Friday in the community where he was born and raised.

The Bluffton police officer was killed when he was putting down stop sticks during a pursuit on March 31, on I-75. He was hit by a car of fleeing suspects and died from his injuries.

Several thousand people attended services at Bluffton University’s Sommer Center Friday.

Francis was awarded a Medal of Honor and a Purple Heart for his ultimate sacrifice. It was presented to his wife during the ceremony, seen in the video below.

Close friend and fellow law enforcement Officer Amanda Miller, who met Francis in 2016, spoke about the great impact he had on her.

“If you’ve met me, I hope I edify what Dominic is,” Miller said. “He was driven. He was full of energy and yes, as you’ve already heard, full of service.”

She said she cherishes the bond created in their service together like when they helped to reunite a family with a lost child and even corralled livestock.

She wanted people to know he was a very funny guy, saying “sarcasm was his second language.”

Miller explained the many roles he took on throughout his career, calling him “Dominic the Peacemaker. She said he built many friendships with deputies during countless hours of ride-alongs – all with memories to share.

“I quickly learned what it is to be a service person through Dominic,” she said through tears. “There was no such word as, ‘no.’ If someone asked it was a, ‘yes.'”

Following the funeral, close loved ones and fellow officers made up the motorcade leading to Clymer Cemetery in Mount. Cory, his final resting place.

Many stood along the route to pay their respects.

Francis, 42, leaves behind a wife and two children.

He served on the Findlay Police Department and the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office before joining the Bluffton Police Department. He was a Bluffton officer for 11 years.  

Francis was awarded the Officer of the Year award twice, multiple Letters of Commendation, The Chief’s Leadership Award and a Bluffton Police Department Life Saving Award and honored by Mothers Against Drunk Drivers as Top Cop.

Francis also served as a Captain for the Southwestern Hancock Joint Fire District for several years. He earned the Ohio EMS Star of Life multiple times.

“This community lost a hero… His heart was big. He was a teacher. He was a bus driver. He was a coach to the youth in this community. He had a heart of gold,” said Bluffton Police Chief Ryan Burkholder.

Francis was very active with Cory-Rawson High School where he was a strength and conditioning coach, football coach, substitute teacher and bus driver.

According to his obituary, when he wasn’t working one of his many jobs, he enjoyed spending time with family and friends at Indian Lake and driving his boat.

Fort Findlay FOP Lodge is handling donations for Officer Francis’ family. You can donate to a memorial fund here.