COLD SPRING, Minn. - For nearly a decade, Rosella Decker has visited her son's grave at the St. Nicholas cemetery as often as she can. But she hopes the community of Cold Spring will soon have another way to remember Tom Decker's sacrifice.
"Tommy was always such a caring person. He always wanted to help people," said Rosella. "The hurt is always there. It never goes away. You learn to live with it. I miss him terribly."
On November 29, 2012, the Cold Spring police officer was shot and killed while performing a welfare check in an apartment over Winner's sports bar on a man whose family believed he was suicidal.
One person of interest in the investigation committed suicide in 2013, and the case was closed 5 years later.
"You always think it doesn't happen to you until it does, and then you just don't have words for it," said Rosella.
Now there's an effort to create a permanent memorial for Decker that would replace the current plaque outside city hall with a bronze statue on a granite base.
So far, the campaign has raised about half of its 60,000 dollar goal, which would be a tribute to Decker and a thank you to all law enforcement.
"It is one of our own, one of our brothers, one of our community members and officers who was killed in the line of duty and it's our privilege to be able to say thank you for what he has done," said memorial organizer, Paul Woletzko.
Organizers hope to have the new memorial in place by the 10th anniversary of Decker's death in a few months. So the 31-year-old who left behind four young children isn't left behind by the community he put his life on the line for.
"So that his sacrifice is not forgotten," said Rosella.