WASECA, Minn. (FOX47) — The Waseca community knows how to stay ‘Matson Strong.’
Some may be familiar with the saying, it’s a sign of support after Waseca police officer Arik Matson was shot in the head while in the line of duty. Arik has spent the last 16 months in recovery and Monday, that support came out again, surprising Arik with a customized golf cart.
“This will make it so much easier to get out there and get some independence back,” Arik said.
The cart, deck out in Waseca police attire, Arik’s badge number and of course, ‘Matson Strong’ decal, was gifted by neighboring community member Shelly Bartlett.
“The customization that people thought of tops it off. I mean, there’s no doubt it’s ours right here,” Arik said, pointing to the ‘Matson Strong’ banner on the windshield.
“Anything to help them out,” Bartlett said.
Bartlett reached out to the family after the incident and has done her best to support them along their recovery journey. When she heard what Arik missed most was driving, she came up with an idea.
“Really, I don’t think of it as a golf cart, I think of it as a miniature car,” Bartlett said with a smile.
Since the incident in Jan. 2020, Arik has been working through physical, speech and occupational therapy and rehabilitation. The golf cart, is aimed to move that progress forward and increasing mobility.
“I hope it motivates you and pushes you to get outside and get better each and every day,” Arik’s wife, Megan Matson, said.
“I feel so happy that Arik is able to have this golf cart,” Megan said. “And be able to just get out, get fresh air, be able to communicate with the community members, go get the mail, pick up the girls from school. I am so blessed for this and I can already see the confidence inside him.”
Arik knows what’s on the top of that list.
“I can’t wait to pick them up at the bus stop and cruise home with them,” he said.
The Matsons also plan to take the girls trick or treating in the golf cart. Megan says the oldest will be dressing up as a surgeon, and the youngest, a police officer.
The man convicted of shooting Arik, Tyler Janovsky, pleaded guilty for two counts of attempted murder and was sentenced to 25 years in prison last November.
In the beginning of this year, Arik and Megan helped introduce a bill to create harsher and stricter sentences for the attempted murder of a law enforcement officer.