Waseca Police Officer Arik Matson is coming home Monday, and the community’s invited to join in on the welcome.
Matson, gravely wounded in the line of duty earlier this year, returns to southern Minnesota after nine months of rehabilitation.
“The day we have hoped for is finally almost here,” Waseca Police Chief Penny Vought said in a Wednesday release. “Arik will soon be home with his family, his law enforcement family and his friends. We have missed him tremendously and will continue to support him as he recovers from his injuries.”
A welcome home escort is planned for around noon Monday in Waseca. Spectators can line Hwy. 13 sidewalks starting at the Waseca Junior Senior High School and continuing south to the Waseca Public Safety building. Emergency vehicles will transport Matson around noon Monday for a drive-by so those gathered can greet him.
The department asks attendees to follow social distancing guidelines during the parade and to stay on the sidewalks or far off of the roadway. Normal traffic will continue on Hwy. 13/State Street during the welcome.
Matson will finish his rehabilitation at home after leaving an Omaha, Nebraska, rehabilitation center. Insulation Distributors Inc. donated the cost of private air transportation for Matson’s return.
In a CaringBridge post Matson’s wife Megan Matson said there hasn’t been a lot of change in her husband’s recovery in the last month, but that she has been able to visit him every two weeks for a few days at a time.
While she’s there she takes time during the therapy sessions to interact with her husband and his therapist to prepare for having him home again. They have practiced walking together, car transfers, getting dressed and other daily life skills.
In the journal she wrote “Arik is moving in the right direction slowly but surely. Every week we are making strides onto the right path. He is very excited to be coming home soon and continuing his therapy’s here in Minnesota for the long months to come ahead.”
The accommodate the anticipated number of spectators, the Waseca Public Safety Building parking lot will be closed to the public until 2 p.m. Monday. The Public Safety Building will be closed from 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m.
Vought commended Matson’s care team and others who have reached out following Matson’s shooting.
“We would like to acknowledge and express our deepest gratitude to the first responders, doctors and nurses who saved his life. We also would like to thank the numerous retired and current law enforcement officers who watched over him at various facilities and the essential workers who provided outstanding care to him during his healing journey. Lastly, thank you to the countless number of people throughout Minnesota and the United States who have sent their well wishes to Arik and to us. Your support will never be forgotten.”
Matson was shot shot in the head Jan. 6 after he and three other Waseca officers responded to a report of a suspicious person. The suspect, Tyler Robert Janovsky, 38, of Waseca, was shot by officers, but sustained non life-threatening injuries.
Janovsky, who was on supervised release for a 2010 drug conviction, had a warrant out for his arrest at the time of the shooting. According to court records, police found materials for a potential methamphetamine lab, as well as drugs and a loaded handgun at his Waseca residence in December.
Janovsky pleaded guilty in July to two counts of attempted murder of a police officer. He’s expected to be sentenced Nov. 6 to 35 years in prison.