'G.I. Joe' had immense impact on Fox Lake community

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - Fox Lake is a small, tight knit community. One drive through town and it’s evident that Lt. Joe Gliniewicz had an impact on just about everyone.

The Fox Lake District Library was dark on Wednesday, but its sign was lit up to remember Gliniewicz.

At the Grand Ave Hair Club, the sign says 'GI-JOE STRONG."

And inside Snap Fitness, the lieutenants picture could be seen with a message that said, "Today we lost one of our Snap Fitness members, Joe Gliniewicz."

“Everyone here knew him thought very highly of him he was a very well respected man in this community,” said Snap Fitness owner Tiffany Keller.

And where there weren't signs, there were flags at half-staff.

And another sign could be found at Gordy's Cobalt Boats.

“The whole community, we're all saddened. In fact, today I lowered the flag to half-staff in honor of him,” said owner Julie Wood.

But the most poignant message was from the grade school children at Stanton School.

"We will miss you Lieutenant Gliniewicz. Thank you for protecting us."

Dave Torkilsen, a retired captain of the Antioch Fire Department, where Gliniewicz’s brother Mike is a firefighter, was one of those followers and one of Gliniewicz´s best friends. Torkilsen grew up in Antioch with Mike and Joe Gliniewicz and has known the brothers for years.

“He was always positive and very upbeat,” Torkilsen said. “I don´t think I ever saw him without a smile on his face.”

Torkilsen said Gliniewicz was in fantastic shape for a 52-year-old man and frequently participated in extreme obstacle races, such as the Spartan Race and Tough Mudder Mud Run.

“He was going to retire last month,” Torkilsen said. “The papers were on his desk. They asked him to stay on because he was just so valuable.”

The Chicago Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

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