Officer Arik Matson returned home to Waseca on Monday, more than 10 months after he was shot in the head while responding to a call of a suspicious person.
Matson was greeted by people lining the sidewalks going into Waseca all the way to the public safety building, but it's the start of his journey through the town of 8,900 residents that is pulling at the heartstrings.
Matson, sitting in the passenger seat of a police cruiser, was dispatched home, with the 33-year-old responding: "Copy, I'll be en route." Waseca Police Department captured the special moment on video.
"Today is a great day. Officer Arik Matson arrived home to Waseca to a hero’s welcome. He is our hero," Waseca PD's Facebook page says. "It was only by coincidence that Arik came home today, 10/19. In police radio talk, 10-19 means 'Return to Station.' Of all days he could have come home in the last 288 since Jan. 6 – how much more perfect could it be?"
Matson spent the better part of the past seven months away from his wife and two daughters at a rehab facility in Omaha, Nebraska. Now that he's home in Minnesota, a fundraising effort is underway to help the Matsons find reliable transportation to get him to many future medical appointments.
The fundraiser, which has so far generated upwards of $38,000 of a $80,000 goal, will help the Matsons afford a vehicle that can accommodate Matson's wheelchair and his wife and daughters.
"While he has made great progress in his recovery he still will have a long road ahead of him," the GoFundMe explains.
Matson was shot by Tyler Janovsky while responding to a call of a suspicious person with a flashlight in the back yard of a residence in the 900 block of 4th Ave. SE. in Waseca on Jan. 6. Janovsky has since pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted first-degree murder of a peace officer.