FORT WAYNE, Ind (WANE) – Dozens of people gathered to honor fallen heroes at the 14th annual Allen County/Fort Wayne Police Officer Memorial Ceremony Friday morning. The memorial is home to 11 police officers who have died on the job.
Melanie Matteson’s father, Fort Wayne Police Department officer Bradley Matteson, died in 2000. While responding to a call, her father was hit by a semi-truck that ran a red light. He died on impact. Melanie was just eight-years-old.
“I’ve heard that he’s very fair and honest and even if he didn’t want to do it, he had to do it,” she said of her father. “At the same time, he had a really good sense of humor. He was always making people laugh. People that he’s locked up have come up to me and said that he saved their lives or even though they didn’t want to be arrested, he made it a semi-good experience.”
Melanie wasn’t just remembering her father on Friday. Her brother died on Wednesday.
“My older brother loved [our dad] very much and really could just not get passed it and I’m just very happy that they’ve been reunited and I can’t wait to be with them one day,” she said.
Myrna Stiverson’s husband, Kenneth, served as an FWPD officer for 14 years. Kenneth was shot and killed in 1969. He and his partner stopped a suspect on the sidewalk and it turned into a stand off.
“My husband kept trying to talk the suspect down and for some reason he just opened fire and shot my husband straight in the heart,” Myrna said.
Four generations of Stiverson’s came to remember Kenneth at the memorial ceremony. Myrna’s daughter, Tami, her granddaughter, Lexi, and her great-granddaughter, Aubrey were all at the memorial with her.
Myrna said she’ll tell baby Audrey about how honorable Kenneth was.
“You know he wasn’t just shot,” she said. “He was trying to talk the man down because he wanted to get home to his family too and the suspect had a family and my husband knew that and knew that he wanted to get home to his family. So my husband was trying to save both of their lives.”
For Myrna, it itouching to know her husband is not forgotten.
“It’s quite an honor to know that your loved one is honored in this way,” she said.
The memorial tributes officers who were killed as far back as 1907. The most recent fallen hero is Bradley Matteson, who died in 2000.