A hero's welcome

Sherwood residents welcomed wounded Grant County Sheriff Jason Rehling to his new home
by: Jaime Valdez, The Rehling family, led by Matthew, with Jason Rehling holding Kathryn, and accompanied by his wife Andrea, are flanked by Lisa Vennes of Fleur-de-Lisa Designs, and Renaissance Homes' Randy Sebastian. They are walking to their newly finished home in Sherwood.

It's common practice to honor any officer injured in the line of duty, but the local business community has banded together to give a wounded Oregon sheriff a special reward: the keys to a new house.

Former Grant County Sheriff Jason Rehling and his family unlocked the door to their Sherwood home for the first time in September with a crew from the "Dr. Phil Show" taping and hundreds in the community looking on. While the Rehlings knew they would tour their fully furnished home for the first time Sept. 20, they didn't know they'd be arriving by stretch limousine or that there would be a barbecue.

"This is just incredible. It just reinforces in my mind why our community is the best place to live," said Jason Rehling, who was shot in the face while investigating a domestic dispute near John Day in 2003. "Even though it might sound crazy, I would go out and do this again in a heartbeat."

The Rehlings also received a visit from Joe Torrillo, a New York City firefighter who was pulled from the rubble after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. He said that while no one can take back what happened to Jason on the day he was shot, it was important for the community to come to his aid.

"This house is a symbol of the commitment and support people were willing to put forth to make life easier for him," he said Wednesday.

More than 100 businesses in and around Sherwood contributed to the project, with Renaissance Homes' Randy Sebastian leading the way in building the house in their Richen Park neighborhood near Sunset Boulevard in Sherwood. Freelance interior designer Lisa Vennes began rallying the community after she saw a national television presentation of Rehling's plight.

The result is a four-bedroom, 3,100-sqaure-foot home that left Rehling's exuberant 10-year-old, Matthew, "speechless," But only temporarily.

"They've made our lives a lot better," he said of donors, "they're doing this for us, I appreciate what they're doing, and thank you."

While a number of larger regional businesses took part in building the Rehling's home, Sherwood businesses and residents have also rolled out the welcome mat on a local level. The family will get a limousine ride to Désirant Day Spa in late September for a complimentary spa treatment. Local producer David Dahle is also putting together a welcome film from the community. He has gathered brief greetings from the mayor and other local community leaders, as well as everyday folks from Sherwood neighborhoods. Dahle said Sherwood residents can send the Rehlings an email welcome at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..