SARASOTA, Fla. — Funeral services were held Sunday morning at Venice Church of the Nazarene in Venice, Florida, for Sarasota County Patrol Deputy Joshua Welge.
Along with the church's pastor, the Sarasota County Sheriff, other law enforcement colleagues and family shared memories of Welge from his childhood to life-saving actions on the job.
"It was an honor for him to serve because that's all he ever wanted to do," Todd Huffman, Welge's uncle, said at the funeral. "You could see it in his face, that's who he was."
The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office announced the sad passing of one of their deputies Oct. 22.
Welge died on Oct. 21 after a monthslong battle with COVID-19, the sheriff's office reported in a Facebook post. His last day working with the department was Aug. 19, authorities say.
"As a sheriff or a chief, I can tell you, this is the kind of deputy or police officer that every agency wants to have," Sarasota County Sheriff Kurt Hoffman said at the funeral. "A dedicated family man. Dedicated to his community. And obviously with his 22 years, willing to risk his safety for others."
Welge originally joined the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office in 1999 as a corrections deputy before he was law enforcement certified. He left to join the Venice Police Department from 2001 to 2007 before rejoining the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office as a deputy later that year.
"Over the course of several weeks, Deputy Welge courageously fought COVID-19 with the support of his family and coworkers," the sheriff's office reports.
A GoFundMe has been made to donate to Joshua Welge's three children. The sheriff's office asks the community to respect the Welge family during this time.