MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Eugene Wynn, a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conservation officer, was laid to rest Friday.

Officer Wynn, 43, was thrown from a boat on Cross Lake while responding to a call about a possible body spotted in the water.

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Wynn loved the woods and water ever since he was a little boy growing up in Wisconsin. He wanted to be a conservation officer. Sadly, 18 years after realizing that dream, he died as one.

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For hours before his service, Wynn was honored by a sea of fellow law enforcement.

“This just tears at everybody’s heartstrings,” said LEMA Honor Guard Commander Dave Holmquist.

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(credit: CBS)

From across the country, county deputies, police officers, state troopers and fellow conservation officers paid respects. And for Gov. Tim Walz, it was his first time undertaking this sad and somber duty.

With lowered flags fluttering in a stiff breeze, the sounds of horses pulling his caisson drew the silent salutes. Soon, a wall of green uniformed fellow COs marched inside.

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“To be here to help support each other, and support the family and this community is mourning as well, to kind of come together to show our support and help the healing process to begin,” Holmquist said.

After a brief but moving service, there was a tribute from overhead. DNR enforcement aircraft paid a final salute to the officer who loved the outdoors, which he served and sacrificed.

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Wynn leaves behind a wife and two children, ages 5 and 11. He is the 22nd state conservation officer to die in the line of duty.