Updated Progress

~ Article from Cold Spring Record (DECEMBER 13, 2022)

HUNDREDS GATHER TO HONOR OFFICER TOM DECKER AND MINNESOTA LAW ENFORCEMENT

By Chuck Waletzko, Memorial Project Volunteer

Several hundred people from throughout the state of Minnesota gathered on November 27th at St. Boniface Catholic Church to pay their respects marking the tenth anniversary of the death of Officer Tom Decker. Officer Tom Decker was killed in the line of duty responding to a welfare check. The families of four other fallen officers were also present and recognized. In attendance, along with Rosella Decker and a dozen other Decker family members were the families of Officer Brian Klinefelter (E.O.W. 01/29/1996 – St. Joseph, MN), including his mother Lois amongst others, Officer Scott Patrick (E.O.W.  07/30/2014 – W. St Paul, MN), including his wife Michelle amongst others, Senior Deputy Edwin Arendt (E.O.W. 11/03/1987 – Jacobs Prairie, MN), including his daughter Tina and Officer Shawn Silvera (E.O.W. 09/06/2005), including his mother Bonnie. More than seventy-five members of law enforcement from throughout the country, and their family members, were also in attendance and were recognized.

Representative Lisa Demuth read a moving tribute recognizing Officer Decker for his ten years of service to Minnesota communities. Police Chief Jason Blum and Decker friend Deputy Craig Kritzeck talked of their fond memories of Officer Decker, frequently citing what a jokester Tommy could be. Don Calhoun, of Murphy Granite, shared the vision for the side monument his company is creating to share the life story of Officer Decker. Greg Flint, of Coldspring, shared why his company’s mission vision is rooted in making the Cold Spring community a great place to live, work and play. Which is why building this memorial is so important.  

Pastor Denny Curran, of River of Life Church, made a stirring appeal for everyone to financially support this all-important project. He shared the story of Tommy’s response to his mother Rosella’s question, “How can you stand at attention as part of the Honor Guard at the funeral for a police officer when you just worked the overnight shift and have been up for more than 24 hours?” He responded to her saying, “Mom, they would do it for me.” Little did she or anyone else know that less than 4 months later, they would be doing it for him…

U.S. Congressman Tom Emmer shared that despite all of the anti-police rhetoric, the dedication and courage of our peace makers, as he prefers to call police officers, has never been more important. Also in attendance was former Cold Spring Police Chief Phil Jones and his wife Vikki, currently residing in Oklahoma. Chief Jones recalled the evening that Tommy was killed and having to deliver the bad news late that night to Tommy’s parents, Rosella and John Decker. Phil gave a moving talk about the admirable qualities of Rosella and John that have inspired him and many others throughout the years. He also shared stories about Tommy on and off the job.  

Emcee Senator Jeff Howe then shared the significance of the time seven-year-old Tommy Decker got lost at Crossroads Shopping Center and was consoled by a police officer who bought him an ice cream cone. That random act of kindness is what led Tommy to want to become a police officer. In honor of that event, Senator Howe invited all in attendance to an ice cream social following the program.  The Stearns County Honor Guard paid tribute to Officer Decker with a wreath laying ceremony. Following that, the Central Minnesota Pipes and Drums played “Amazing Grace” and Bishop Donald Kettler of the Diocese of St. Cloud closed with a moving prayer.

The commemoration event was extensively covered by many media outlets, including all three Twin Cities news channels and the Minneapolis Star Tribune. To view these media reports, as well as a link to watch the entire live streamed program, go to http://www.coldspringpolicememorial.com

The enthusiasm and momentum from the commemoration allowed us to reach $68,500. The original $60,000 fundraising goal reflected the bronze statues of the police officer and the little boy at two-thirds life-size. We did this for budgetary purposes. Now having raised $68,500, we are in reach of the $71,000 bronze statues at life-size. The life-sized statues will make the memorial significantly more impressive and dramatic.

That leaves us just $2,500 left to raise for the Officer Tom Decker Minnesota Law Enforcement Memorial that will proudly stand in the town of Cold Spring for centuries to come. All donors will have their names written on a paper scroll which will be deposited into the bronze statue of the policeman like a time capsule. This is the opportunity for you and your family to be part of this amazing legacy. To donate, go to GoFundMe and search “Cold Spring Police Memorial” in the search bar, or if you prefer checks, they can be made out to “Cold Spring Police Memorial” and sent to Granite Bank at PO Box 416, Cold Spring, MN 56320. Help us reach this final goal and have your family be part of this great cause.

Governor Walz Letter for Tom Decker:

Watch the news coverage on:

ABC Eyewitness News/Channel 5:

https://kstp.com/kstp-news/top-news/new-memorial-in-the-works-for-officer-tom-decker-donations-needed/

Kare11:

https://www.kare11.com/article/news/local/kare11-sunrise/tom-decker-ten-year-anniversary-cold-spring-memorial/89-42406747-d786-4521-8aca-c38014e33820

For our GoFundMe, visit:

https://www.gofundme.com/f/the-officer-decker-cold-spring-police-memorial

Checks can be sent to:

Granite Bank at PO Box 416, Cold Spring, MN 56320