Gone but not forgotten: Widows to honor fallen husbands in DC

Local News

Next week is National Police Week. In Washington, D.C. that means a week of ceremonies and candlelight vigils honoring fallen law enforcement officers. For three Fort Wayne women, it all hits close to home. 

Diana Cox, Kris Tinsley and Susie Matteson-Thomas are widows of fallen Fort Wayne law enforcement officers and are going to Washington, D.C. for Police Week. For Diana and Kris, this trip is a first. They and their families have been invited to go to represent their husbands Allen County Sheriff’s Deputy Joe Cox and Fort Wayne Police Officer David Tinsley. Both died in the line of duty. Both will have their names engraved on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial on Monday. 

For Diana, it’s a chance to show her late husband how much her husband means to her. 

“He’s worthy of honor, but I’ve said this before,” Diana said. “This isn’t the most important thing to Joe. Joe’s worth came from Christ not in his name on a wall. So, it’s important to us that he is honored and that he is remembered because he is worth it.” 

Kris Tinsley lost her husband when he had a fatal heart attack while pursuing a a stolen vehicle suspect last year. 

She said the emotions she’s felt about this Washington, D.C. trip have been complicated. 

“I’m very proud of my husband and what he did, his job and the way he helped people,” Kris said. “The reason that I’m there is a very sad one.” 

Kris went on to say the whole process has been made easier because she, Diana, and Susie have gotten so close. 

“Oh, I cannot tell you how much it helps to have Diana and Susie,” Kris said. “They have become such close wonderful friends. I feel like I can talk to them about anything because they understand everything” 

Susie Matteson-Thomas is on her way to her third Police Week in Washington, D.C. She first went in 2001 when her late husband, Fort Wayne Police Officer Brad Matteson, had his name engraved on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. She’s taken to helping Diana and Kris prepare by giving them advice on how to handle the emotions of the week. 

“I have been two times,’ Susie said. “My first time in 2001, the year that Brad’s name was put on the wall, and then I went the year after to just partake in National Police Week things that I wasn’t necessarily aware that were going on the year that we were out there to honor Brad.” 

Diana said organizations raised money so that the trips are free for the families. The ceremony that will see Deputy Joe Cox and Officer David Tinsley’s names engraved on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial will be on Monday. 

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