HILLSBORO, Ohio — One week after he died from a "medical emergency" while responding to a call for help at Rocky Fork State Park, Ohio Department of Natural Resources Officer Jason Lagore was laid to rest Wednesday.
His colleagues, family and friends, along with several law enforcement departments from the area gathered at Bible Baptist Church in Wilmington Wednesday morning for the funeral service.
The service began with a line of K-9 officers and their partners offering a salute to Lagore, who was known for his expertise with K-9s and was instrumental in building the K-9 division at ODNR. Lagore also helped lead the department's first K-9 Academy.
His friend and colleague at ODNR, Chaplain Jeff Tipton, spoke during the service and remembered Lagore as a dedicated officer who gave his life to try and protect those around him. Tipton spoke to Lagore's wife and two young sons and said the room full of law enforcement would always be there for them.
"Jason will be sorely missed," said Tipton during the service. "He regularly gave of himself to others and eventually made the ultimate sacrifice by losing his own life while trying to save someone else."
Following the service, members of the law enforcement and first responder community led officer Lagore's body to Miami Cemetery in Waynesville, where he was laid to rest.
ODNR representatives said the 15-year veteran was among the personnel called to rescue 16-year-old Keaira after she fell into a frozen lake in the park after she saved her brother from the freezing waters.
“Our hearts are with the family and loved ones of Officer Jason Lagore, who died in the line of duty last night,” said Ohio Department of Natural Resources director Mary Mertz in a statement Wednesday morning. “Our law enforcement officers and their families carry a unique and challenging burden of responsibilities, and we are deeply grateful for their service.”
Lagore briefly participated in the rescue before the emergency forced a rush trip to Highland District Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.