PEKIN, Ill. (WMBD) — Hundreds of community members and first responders on Wednesday said their final goodbyes to a fallen Pekin Police officer.

Officer Dan Graber, 49, died on May 17 at home after serving Pekin for nearly 24 years.

“He was always my rock. He was the best father ever, couldn’t ask for a better one,” said son Mason Graber.

Mason said his father will be remembered for his sense of humor and love of Star Wars.

“He was a funny man. Honestly, I don’t know anyone funnier than him. Even in the movies, no one can beat Dan,” he said.

Escorted by dozens of police cars, motorcycles and ambulances, local residents paid their respects as Wednesday’s funeral procession crossed town to Prairie Haven Cemetery.

“We’re just gonna heavily miss him. I know we’re all struggling right now,” said Pekin Police Chief John Dossey.

From Peoria to El Paso, law enforcement from across Central Illinois showed up.

“I’m shocked, I’m honored just that they have that respect for Pekin, the officers and the police department,” said Dossey.

Peoria Police Officer Lt. Chad Oberle grew up with Graber since they were five years old.

“He was a very loving person. It was a reflection of his family… they treated me like a son and he adopted that mindset,” he said.

Oberle said he was taken aback by the huge crowds turning out to pay their respects.

“That was great. Seeing the community, it shows how much everyone loved him and how great of a person he really was and what an impact he made on the people of the City of Pekin,” he said

Dossey said he is grateful for the community support.

“I think today’s community show of support really sent a message to the officers that they matter…Out of their cars, hands over their hearts to pay their respects. I’ve been doing this for almost 40 years, I’ve never seen that. It was stunning just to see that,” he said.

Graber’s family said memorial contributions can be made to the Pekin Police Foundation or Grafelman Farms Rescue in Peoria.