September 13, 2017 11:40 PM
Support for the family of Wayzata officer Bill Mathews is coming from all over - including from the wives of those in law enforcement.
On Wednesday, dozens of women gathered to prepare something special for Mathews' funeral Thursday in the form of blue roses.
"He did nothing other than put on a uniform, put on a badge and kiss his family goodbye that morning not knowing that it would be his last," said Meghann, a member of the organization Backing the Blue Line.
The group's members did not want their last names to be used.
At Thursday's funeral, two thousand roses will be handed to Mathews' family - and all other members of law enforcement, thanks to the group.
"You get to give back," Meghann said. "But you truly get to bond with those who get it. They understand what it's like when your loved one doesn't come home."
Sadly, Gwen knows what it's like to be on the receiving end of those roses.
"I hope none of them ever have to experience it," said Gwen, who lost her husband, a former Elk River police officer, two years ago.
"When you walk in and you see everybody holding these blue roses with your husband's badge number on it, it's so powerful. It's such a strong emotion. There's pride, there's sadness, there's honor."
That's why each woman with Backing the Blue Line is taking their time putting together the blue roses. They understand what it's like to love someone who risks their life every day.
"It's scary because they walk out the door promising to run into everything that everyone else runs away from," said Judy, whose husband retired after nearly 20 years as a police officer.
Judy's husband patrolled the streets for nearly 20 years, and had two close calls. Even though her husband is recently retired, that doesn't stop her from doing her part with the organization.
"Knowing that there are so many other women who are having the same experiences and same struggles is very therapeutic," Judy said.
Mathews' memory will live on with the blue roses. And the women with Backing the Blue Line understand the smallest gesture can go a long way.
"It's a beautiful tribute to a life that's fallen," Gwen said.
Backing the Blue Line is in charge of all donations for the Mathews' family. If you'd like to donate visit a website that has been set up.
By the Numbers: Minnesota Officers Killed in Vehicle Related Incidents
|Name||Department||Date of Death||Cause of Death|
|William Mathews||Wayzata Police Department||9/8/2017||Vehicular assault|
|Mike Wilken||Ramsey County Sheriff's Department||10/25/2009||
Struck by vehicle
|David Richard Loeffler||Minneapolis Police Department||5/29/2009||Vehicular assault|
|Mark Bedard||Minneapolis Park Police Department||11/9/2007||Struck by vehicle|
|Shawn Barrington Silvera||Lino Lakes Police Department||9/6/2005||Vehicular assault|
|Theodore J. Foss||Minnesota State Patrol||8/31/2000||Struck by vehicle|
|Luther Fredrick Klug||Dakota County Sheriff's Office||7/16/1996||Vehicular assault|
|Brain W. Heikkila||Solway Township Police Department||11/19/1983||Vehicular assault|
|John J. O'Brien||St. Paul Police Department||4/16/1981||Vehicular assault|
|Dennis Donald Bouchie||Itasca County Sheriff's Department||8/10/1979||Vehicular assault|
|Aldean Merlin Sorbo||Bricelyn Police Department||7/9/1978||Vehicular assault|
|Curtis Williams||Minnesota State Patrol||2/22/1978||Struck by vehicle|
|Marlo Zwiers||Cambridge Police Department||11/1/1968||Struck by vehicle|
|Lowell Lloyd Krause||Minneapolis Police Department||7/14/1967||Vehicular assault|
|Lloyd Reed||Minneapolis Police Department||8/6/1965||Struck by vehicle|
|Andrew F. Sharp||Minneapolis Police Department||8/17/1963||Struck by vehicle|
|William H. Freytag||Rochester Police Department||3/13/1961||Struck by vehicle|
|Deo C. Waldron||Hallock Police Department||7/12/1959||Struck by vehicle|
|Alfred V. Sandquist||St. Paul Police Department||6/18/1959||Vehicular assault|
|Verl C. Whinery||Anoka Police Department||1/18/1941||Struck by vehicle|
|Joseph W. Herzog||Austin Police Department||7/1/1945||Struck by vehicle|
|Adolpf G. Karpinsky||Minneapolis Police Department||5/22/1941||Struck by vehicle|
|Georgianna Sharrot||Minneapolis Police Department||6/14/1937||Struck by vehicle|
|Walter James Bowman||Mille Lacs County Sheriff's Department||5/27/1934||Struck by vehicle|
|David A. Butchart||Duluth Police Department||10/6/1933||Struck by vehicle|
|Albert J. Cunnien||St. Paul Police Department||7/3/1925||Struck by vehicle|
Updated: September 13, 2017 11:40 PM
Created: September 13, 2017 08:06 PM
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