Honoring a retired St. Paul officer's dying wish

A St. Paul business owner is stepping up to honor a friend's dying wish.

She's completing the passion project the retired St. Paul police officer was working on when he passed away a few months ago.

Fox 9 first met Linda Schwartzbauer three years ago, when she and Tim Bradley helped restore a memorial for Maplewood Police Sgt. Joseph Bergeron.

Now, she is on a mission to get her friend's unfinished business all sewn up.

At her embroidery shop on St. Paul's eastside, Schwartzbauer makes clothes for police officers both on and off the street, but her latest project is a labor of love.

"It just feels like I'm honoring Tim. Completing this project," Schwartzbauer said.

For the last four years, she worked with Officer Bradley to make honor ribbons for St. Paul Police and the Dakota County Sheriff's Office.

But when Bradley died earlier this year from lung disease before they could make similar ribbons for the Minneapolis Police Dept., Schwartzbauer decided to fulfill his dying wish.

"There's competition about who is the best police department and he wanted to bridge that competition and say we're both the same. We're both great departments," Schwartzbauer said.

Each ribbon is made from the pants of an officer's uniform and takes three hours to complete.

Schwartzbauer made one for all 50 Minneapolis officers who've died in the line of duty since 1867, including some familiar names like Jerry Haaf and Melissa Schmidt, but it wasn't without its challenges.

"It was trying to get the officers to get me their worn uniform pants. That was the hardest part. Why? I don't know," Schwartzbauer said.

Schwartzbauer says each ribbon weaves a story of an officer who dedicated their life to serving others and who sacrificed it all while walking the thin blue line.

"I'm so proud to have been able to complete this project for Tim and proud that we got to do this for Minneapolis," Schwartzbauer said.

Schwartzbauer says St. Paul Police will donate the ribbons to the Minneapolis Police Department during a ceremony for fallen officers in Mears Park on May 17.