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'I don't think there was a dry eye in the house,' DCSO swears in Jace Knoell as honorary deputy

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There's a new sheriff in Fremont. 

On Monday night, the Dodge County Sheriff's Office paid a special visit to the home of Archbishop Bergan Elementary School student Jace Knoell to swear him in as the office's newest honorary deputy. 

On top of the new badge and responsibilities that come with being the county's newest deputy, Jace and his family received a $10,000 donation from the sheriff's office. 

"I don't think there was a dry eye in the house," DCSO Deputy Brie Frank said. "People think of law enforcement as rough and tough, but it was amazing to see how this little boy can show you how you can fight and be happy in life even when you're dealt a bad hand." 

Jace, an 8-year-old, third-grade student at Archbishop Bergan, was diagnosed with Stage 4 neuroblastoma at 14 months old. During the course of the next month, he was hospitalized while undergoing tests, scans and rounds of chemotherapy. 

Jace was cancer free for five years before relapsing on April 27, 2020. He completed radiation treatment in January and an eighth cycle of chemotherapy in February. 

His situation became more difficult in June. In a June Facebook post on the "Jace's Journey" Facebook page, his family detailed Jace's failing kidneys and aggressive neuroblastoma. 

"We are searching high and low for any and all available Neuroblastoma relapse treatment options and are not having any luck with no kidney function," the post read. 

Jace and the sheriff's office have seen their relationship grow stronger during recent months. The Monday ceremony was organized by Sergeant Dustin Weitzel, whose children also attend Archbishop Bergan. 

"It's amazing to see how happy he was," Frank said. 

In November, DCSO took the money it raised from it's No Shave November fundraising and donated it to Jace and the Knoell family. 

"We wanted him to get something fun," Frank said. 

On top of the donation, sheriff's deputies also gave Jace various patches from the office, which were quickly sewn onto his backpack. 

"We felt a really strong connection to him and kept in touch with the family throughout the year," Frank said. 

This weekend, the sheriff's office hosted a golf tournament to raise money for the Royal Family KIDS Camp and the Knoell family.

"We knew we wanted to split the funds between the camp and something else that was local and Jace has been so heavy on our hearts, so this was perfect," Frank said. "The camp is going to be here next year and we're not sure Jace will, so we want to make sure he and his family have everything they need instead of worrying about paying medical bills." 

Frank thanked the Fremont community and businesses for helping raise funds to support the Knoell family. 

"His parents were so thankful for us coming out and making his day," Frank said. "Between the family and their huge support system, along with the Bergan family, I think they're really thankful for that." 

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