Friends and co-workers remember a Winnebago County Corrections Officer killed in a motorcycle crash. Jeremie Kobler had a long history of service to his community. He was a military veteran and a young father. But for most people who met him he was their friend.
"He was really more of a brother than just a friend," says Christian Yehling as he chokes back tears.
Christian has been best friends with Jeremie since kindergarten. The two graduated from Auburn High School together and were supposed to enlist in the Air National Guard together. Christian changed his mind. Jeremie did not.
"He loved the Air Force, security police that what he was," says Christian.
Christian says Jeremie served three tours of duty in the middle east Including Iraq before he finally left because he began dating the love of his life.
"Whether he told anyone else or not, he was real close in his 20 years and he was afraid he was going to lose his wife to be, at the time his girlfriend. So to make sure he didn't take off for another tour of duty and end up losing her he resigned," says Christian.
Jeremie and Danielle Kobler met when they were both Winnebago County Corrections Officers. Danielle now works for the Sheriff's Department. Jeremie was currently working as a Sergeant in the county jail when he crashed his motorcycle Wednesday night into a car stopped at the intersection with Meridian Road.
"He had a long career with us, an excellent employee. His fellow workers and friends are very saddened by this loss," says Sheriff Dick Meyers.
Besides leaving behind a wife, Jeremie was also a new father. His twins turned one-years-old just last week. Yehling says he and his friends will make sure they grow up knowing how much their father loved them.
"They were his life. He would have done anything for them. I went up in the ICU to see his kids, they were born premature and seeing the tears in his eyes when he saw his kids for the first time was something else," says Christian.
Jeremie Kobler's parents say he received six Outstanding Service Medals in Time of War.
His funeral will be at Fitzgerald Funeral Home at 1860 South Mulford Rd Rockford, on Monday, 10 - 2 p.m.. The funeral will be after at 2 p.m. with the burial at Arlington Memorial Park at 6202 Charles Street Rockford.
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