WASHINGTON -- The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday passed legislation naming the Cold Spring, Minn., post office after fallen police officer Tom "Tommy" Decker.
The bill, introduced by Rep. Michele Bachmann in January 2013 and co-sponsored by the other seven members of Minnesota's House delegation, passed unanimously.
Decker was shot and killed in 2012 while responding to a report of a potentially suicidal man.
"It was a terrible, terrible loss," Bachmann said Tuesday. She added that she hopes the proposed "Tommy Decker Memorial Post Office" will serve as a lasting reminder of his heroism and sacrifice for Decker's four children, his wife and other family members and the Cold Spring community.
The bill still must pass the Senate and be signed by the president, but Bachmann said she is optimistic that will happen.
Eddie Decker said Tuesday that he is grateful for the tribute to his brother. An 11-mile stretch of Highway 23 from Wakefield Township to Richmond is also named for the late officer.
"It's overwhelming," Eddie Decker said.
The post office is in the center of town, roughly a block from the seven-member Cold Spring-Richmond Police Department where Decker, 31, served for six years before his death.
Decker was checking on the welfare of the reportedly suicidal man on Nov. 29, 2012. He pulled up behind Winners Sports Bar & Grill in Cold Spring and was headed to see the man who lived upstairs from the bar when he was shot after getting out of his squad car.
Decker's death rocked the tight-knit community of Cold Spring. The police chief at the time, Phil Jones, moved to Colorado after 21 years on the job citing in part the stress of Decker's death. Decker is still listed at the top of the department's "meet the officers" web page.
The investigation into his death remains open, according to the Stearns County Sheriff's Office. But the chief suspect, Eric Joseph Thomes, hanged himself in January 2013 when investigators showed up at his Cold Spring residence to question him.
Decker's brother Eddie said he and other family members were reminiscing about Tommy this past weekend.
"We were kind of reflecting on Father's Day with my dad on just how huge the funeral was and how many people were there and the amount of support from all of the police officers and the community," he said.
Bachmann said Tommy Decker deserved it. She said in a speech on the House floor Tuesday that the post office would be a "fitting tribute to a life well lived and to a man greatly missed.
"As the Holy Scriptures teach us, Mr. Speaker, greater love hath no man than this, but that he lay down his life for his friends," she said. "Surely, this is what Tommy Decker did for the citizens of Cold Spring."