Breaking News
More () »

'There wasn't really anyone you could compare him to' | Bluffton community holds vigil in memory of Dominic Francis

Community members from Bluffton, Cory-Rawson schools and beyond gathered to honor the life of fallen officer Dominic Francis and reflect on the many ways he served.

BLUFFTON, Ohio — The Bluffton community came together Friday evening to honor the life of police officer Dominic Francis. 

Family, friends, students and teachers from Cory-Rawson came to the gazebo outside Bluffton Presbyterian Church to show support. 

Just by the number of people there, you could see how many lives Francis touched.

Francis was a substitute teacher at Cory-Rawson Local Schools. 

He was also the weight room supervisor and a coach for football, basketball and softball.

"He'd never let you stop. And that was in the best way possible. He was just always pushing you, just because he wanted you to be the best," Cory-Rawson sophomore Keegan Puthoff said.

The vigil included members of the Bluffton University football team. While Francis didn't coach the team, they say he made an impact as an officer just hours before he died.

"He came to turn off the fire alarms in Neufeld (residence hall). He was cracking jokes with us, having a good time with us while we were standing out there. He's just a great guy so we came to show support as a team," Bluffton University football player Maalik Tucker said.

Terry Hunt is a minister who spoke at the vigil. He's also a former EMT, who worked with Francis at accident scenes for more than 20 years.

"Just a great man. Ask him to do anything, he'd be right there to help," Hunt said. "I think this is an incredible expression of our love and our appreciation for what he has done. It's a great expression for this community."

Bluffton Police Chief Ryan Burkholder said Francis would sometimes even sub for elementary music classes. He would fill in wherever he was needed.

Students say there wasn't anybody like Francis in the school. Even if he wasn't family, he will be missed as if he were.

"There wasn't really anyone you could compare him to. He was up there and he did everything. Not many people I know that would do that much for a community," Puthoff said.

The Findlay chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police has centralized donations to help the family. 

You can donate through their website here.


Before You Leave, Check This Out