The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

December 3, 2012

Family: Slain officer liked to "protect people"

(Continued)

SARTELL —

Tom often warned of his profession's perils. But in those predawn hours, "it was just the hardest thing to comprehend," Becky said.

Becky affirmed his colleagues' remembrances that Tom loved working as a cop in his hometown of Cold Spring. She also seconded memories about Tom's omnipresent sense of humor, calling him a goofball who liked to watch "SpongeBob Squarepants."

Now Becky, who says she relied heavily on Tom's support — emotional and financial — to care for their children, is left to ponder how she'll manage the future.

Becky says her friends and family have overwhelmed her with love and support in the last two days. They've brought food, helped watch the kids and offered hugs and shoulders to cry on.

Becky hopes she can continue to count on them in the months ahead.

"We need people's support," Becky said. "There's going to be ups and downs, but we're going to get through it."

Sometimes getting through it is tougher than others.

At one point Saturday, Kelly was overcome thinking about her dad. Tears trickled down her cheek and onto her T-shirt, which bore a smiley-face and slogan, "Be Happy."

It's been that kind of emotional roller coaster in the last two days for Kelly and her family. They're happy to remember the good times with Tom, sad to think of their loss, and uncertain when they wonder what's next.

Kelly gave Becky a big hug, hopped onto her lap and let the tears flow. The two comforted each other, remembering Tom Decker the officer, the dad, the husband — and most of all, the caretaker.

"He's going to watch over you," Becky told Kelly. "He's going to make sure you are taken care of."

___

Information from: St. Cloud Times, http://www.sctimes.com

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