PLYMOUTH, Minn. -- Shuttles carried loads of people to Wayzata Free Church Wednesday where they paid their respects to fallen Wayzata Police Officer Bill Mathews.
Mathews was hit and killed by a driver while he was clearing debris from Hwy. 12 Friday afternoon. The nine-year veteran of the Wayzata Police Dept. leaves behind his wife, Shawn, and a seven-year-old son, Wyatt.
Blue balloons and ribbons were a common scene on the roadsides in Wayzata and Long Lake, as neighbors paid respects to the officer who used to patrol their streets.
"He was so kind--very nice man," said William Carter, a Long Lake resident who lit up blue porch lights at his home after learning the officer he'd often wave to in his neighborhood had died. "He was just always there. He was always there.”
Harvest Moon Co-op in Long Lake is doing a round up to raise money for the Memorial Fund for Officer Mathews.
"Anyone we ask is more than happy to round up either to the nearest dollar or more, so the outpouring of sympathy and love for him has been huge," said Susan Anderson, the co-op's grocery manager.
Even the workers reconstructing Wayzata Boulevard between Long Lake and Orono are remembering the officer whose job it was to keep them safe in the construction zone.
"He was always a great gentleman who always had a quick smile and always...wanting to do the right thing," said Paul Backer, senior engineer with Hennepin County.
The funeral will be held Thursday at 11 a.m. at Wayzata Free Church. KARE 11 and KARE11.com will have complete coverage throughout the day. Click here for information about road closures due to the funeral.
Gov. Dayton has ordered all flags to fly at half staff Thursday for Officer Mathews.