September 13, 2017 06:51 PM
Wayzata police stood saluting and at attention as fallen officer William Mathews was brought to his neighborhood church Wednesday ahead of Thursday’s funeral.
And they’ll stay with him all the way to his burial.
“The hardest part is no one could have predicted this. No one could have expected this,” said Jeff Beahen, president of the Minnesota Law Enforcement Memorial Association.
Beahen is in charge of orchestrating the two days dedicated to honoring Mathews’ life.
“The outpouring of support from law enforcement agencies within Hennepin County and surrounding is unprecedented,” he said. “We’ve never had this amount of support from anyone.”
In order to stay by their friend and colleague’s side, Wayzata police are leaning on the brotherhood of the force.
Officers and deputies from nearby departments have volunteered to take watch over the city so those who knew and loved Bill Mathews can focus only on that.
“Times like this, we all walk that thin blue line,” said Beahen, who also serves as police chief in Rogers. “It doesn’t matter what color your uniform is. Brown, maroon, blue, light blue… everyone comes together as one to support this agency and, more importantly, the family of Officer Mathews.”
With the the Patriot Guard standing out front, law enforcement, fire and EMS workers all attended Wednesday’s visitation, wanting to properly recognize the sacrifice Mathews made by putting on a uniform every day.
Even if it was a wrinkled uniform, more often than not.
“There was an observation made that his uniformed shirt would not be ironed before the service today because he never wore an ironed shirt and his uniform was always full of wrinkles,” Beahen said.
The one thing Beahen hopes Mathews’ family remembers most about this day is the time they got to spend reflecting on Bill Mathews - husband and father.
Mathews' 7-year-old son is collecting patches from all the departments who have come to his father’s memorial service.
A basket is provided at the front of the church for the collection.
Mathews' funeral begins at 11 a.m. Thursday at Plymouth’s Wayzata Free Church. It is open to the public.
Updated: September 13, 2017 06:51 PM
Created: September 13, 2017 05:48 PM
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