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Albert Lea honors hometown hero Arik Matson with special day

Officer Arik Matson

ALBERT LEA, Minn. (FOX 47) - Waseca officer Arik Matson was shot in the head back in January and has been fighting to get his life back ever since. Tyler Janovsky, the man charged in the shooting that injured Matson, is facing first-degree attempted murder charges.

As Matson's long road to recovery continues making progress his hometown wanted to do something to recognize the former Freeborn County officer.

"It's important for us to show the support we have for the people who have grown up here," said Albert Lea's mayor Verne Rasmussen. "That's what rural Minnesota is all about."

Waseca officer Arik Matson grew up Albert Lea with law enforcement in his roots. Arik and his father Tim worked in the same building at one point. Tim recently retired from being an Albert Lea police officer and Arik worked for the Freeborn County Sheriff's Office.

In honor of his badge number, 2-2-2, the mayor of his hometown declared February 22nd, this Saturday, to be Arik Matson Day, encouraging everyone to take a moment of silence at 2:22 in the afternoon.

"I thought that was great idea," Mayor Rasmussen said. "In our community, there's a strong feeling that we need to support our law enforcement. This is just one small way we can do that to reach out to him and his family to show him the support he has in this community."

Arik's co-workers from his time in Albert Lea remember him fondly.

"Good sense of humor, understanding, committed to the badge and protecting and serving," said Albert Lea patrol sergeant Tim Bennett, who grew up in Albert Lea alongside Arik. "He loves helping people."

"When you were having a conversation with him, you truly felt like you were the only one who mattered at the time," said Lt. Darren Hanson, Albert Lea deputy chief of police. "He had a nice demeanor that made you feel welcome. He was always willing to take the time to talk to you."

Officer Matson has continued to make progress since the January incident. He has gone through successful reconstructive surgery -- walking, speaking and eating again.

"Arik's progress has been truly a miracle," Hanson said. "It shows the power of prayer at the effect that it can have."

It's also a reminder of the dangers of the job.

"But when it's somebody you know, grew up with, worked with, shared hobbies with, it really hits home," Bennett said. "It's heartbreaking.

"Any father or any parent, especially one that was a police officer, understands the dangers and has a son in law enforcement," said Hanson. "This is everyone's worst greatest fear. It's a nightmare and the Matson family is living it."

State Senator John Jasinski and Senate President Jeremy Miller have also introduced a similar resolution.

Matson lives near Albert Lea in Freeborn, his wife's hometown where he is also a volunteer fire fighter.

If you would like to help the family there is a GoFundMe account here. You can also send donations to Farmers State Bank of Freeborn, Hartland or Albert Lea.

Alex Tejada

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