(KMSP) - With heavy hearts, preparations are underway for Minnesota Corrections Officer Joseph Gomm to be laid to rest.
On Wednesday, wives of police officers from across the metro gathered to put together blue roses to hand out at Gomm's funeral service, which is expected to draw a huge crowd.
The public is encouraged to line the streets and pay their respects outside of the Arden Hills church. Officer Gomm who was killed a week ago by an inmate inside the Stillwater correctional facility.
As soon as they learned their help was needed to dye more than 1,000 white roses blue for Corrections Officer Joseph Homm's funeral, the police wives dropped what they were doing and got together.
In fact, Gomm’s family requested the roses from Backing the Blue Line, a group of more than 2,000 volunteers across the state who have a significant other who wears the badge.
“Tomorrow is the start of their grieving process and we’re hoping to be there from tomorrow on with them; we’re hoping that they reach out if they need anything,” said Jana Peterson with Backing the Blue Line MN. “With us having these blue roses, it’s just a sign for them that we’re on your team, we’re your family and we’re ready. Anything you want to face, we’ll face it with you,” she said.
Fourteen of the women will be handing out the blue roses one by one. It's a tradition they've tragically had to undertake before.
“It’s not the situation we want to come together for. There’s camaraderie, there’s the family behind law enforcement - our officers, our dispatcher, our corrections officers—everyone comes together,” said Meghann R. with Backing the Blue Line MN.
As Officer Gomm's casket is carefully loaded into a waiting hearse and brought to the Arden Hills church, where it will sit guarded by law enforcement officers overnight, people are asked to line the nine-mile procession route from the church to the cemetery in Roseville.
After he's laid to rest, that's when the family behind the badge steps in to care for loved ones he leaves behind.
“The thin blue line, the thin silver line does not end when your officer is gone,” Meghann said.