WASECA, Minn. (KEYC) — Kaleb Hurley is Lead Pastor at Hope Church in Albert Lea, Minnesota.
He’s spent the last three years getting to know a local family of four, the Matsons, who were drawn to his congregation.
“It’s just been a joy to get to know them. They are an amazing family. Anyone who meets them just loves them,” Hurley said.
On Jan. 6, Officer Arik Matson of the Waseca Police Department was responding to a call about a suspicious person in the town’s southeast side.
Upon arrival, he was met by Tyler Robert Janovsky.
In the ensuing exchange of gunfire, Matson was struck in the head.
A week and a half later, Officer Matson is still in the hospital and could use some encouraging thoughts and prayers from southern Minnesota.
“Arik’s condition is what I would call critical," explained Hurley. "He’s stable, that means he’s having help with his breathing at times and at other times he’s actually breathing on his own, which is encouraging, but still tells us we are in the woods on his condition and the doctors are monitoring him daily.”
Like many who heard the news on Jan. 6, Hurley didn’t quite know how to react.
"It's kind of surreal. You don't really know what to feel at first. Over the course of time, when you actually lay eyes on Arik in the hospital room, then it becomes even more hard to deal with emotionally."
Nobody in Hope Church's congregation has had to go through this alone.
They've come together for benefit dinners, prayer events in the family's name and are even creating t-shirts to raise money for the family.
“We have one individual in our church that has designed some t-shirts and thought maybe it would be a smaller order at first, but then realized it ended up being over 500 t-shirts and all those proceeds will go to Arik and Megan.”
A GoFundMe fundraiser has also been started in Officer Matson’s name, raising over $168,000 from over 3,500 people.
The Waseca Bluejays girls’ and boys’ hockey teams will also honor Officer Matson at their games on Friday, Jan. 17, with customized jerseys. In addition, all proceeds collected from gate receipts will be donated to the Matson family.