BOZEMAN, Mont. - Hundreds arrived in Bozeman on Friday morning to pay tribute to fallen Gallatin County Sheriff’s Deputy Jake Allmendinger.
The 31-year-old was killed on Saturday night after being pinned beneath his sliding car while trying to help a stranded motorist.
More than 250 law enforcement and first responders, some from hundreds of miles away, drove the final nine miles from Dahl Funeral Home to Journey Church to honor Allmendinger in a memorial procession on Friday.
Former Bozeman Police officer Christy Klewin said it was important to her to show up and support her law enforcement family from the sidelines.
“You always want to kind of be there to support your brothers and sisters when they're going through this difficult time,” she said.
The county said roughly 1,200 people showed up to the memorial service on Friday to honor Allmendinger.
It was the first memorial service the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office has held in nearly a century, according to Sheriff Brian Gootkin.
"Those of you that didn't know Jake, all you have to do is look around through today and that will speak volumes on how everyone felt about Jake,” said family friend and Gallatin County Search and Rescue team member, Brent Taylor, in a prerecorded message during the ceremony.
Allmendinger was a friend, comrade, husband, son, father, and teammate, described by friends as a “gentle giant,” and a loyal, loving family man.
Jake’s brother Josh told one of his favorite stories about Jake at the service, recalling when he was trying to join Butte’s fire department while Jake was a sheriff’s deputy.
“He said to me, ‘Do you know why we have first responders?’ And I kind of chuckled and, ‘Why’s that, Jake?’ ‘Because you, as a second responder, need to have heroes to look up to, like me,’” Josh recalled to laughter.
The Butte native only spent two years as a sheriff’s deputy, but Allmendinger left a mark on everyone he interacted with.
"I am certain about one thing,” said Captain Jake Wagner. “Jake cared deeply for everyone in his family and our law enforcement family."
On Friday, members of the sheriff’s office spoke about how they would take on the responsibility of raising Jake’s three young children.
"Our culture is about helping people,” said Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin. “[Jake] specifically told [his wife, Monica], 'If I'm ever killed in the line of duty, they will be there.' And we are."
If you’ve been touched by Jake’s story and want to support his family, you can donate through the Montana Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association.