Wives of Law Enforcement Officers Offer Support to Mathews' Family

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. 


Mathews died after he was hit by a vehicle last Friday as he was clearing debris from Highway 12. The woman driving that vehicle, Beth Freeman, is facing two charges of criminal vehicular homicide and one count of driving after the cancellation of her driver's license.

"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


Brett Hoffland

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