Honoring Fallen Officer Joseph Gomm of MN with Blue Roses
Note: Officer Gomm was killed in the line of duty on July 18, 2018 while working at Minnesota Correctional Facility - Stillwater. He was laid to rest on July 26, 2018 with full Line of Duty Death honors as prescribed by MNLEMA. On the evening of July 25th, dozens of Backing the Blue Line (BTBL) members (police wives/partners/girlfriends/fiancees of Minnesota POST certified law enforcement officers) prepared 1,300 for distribution at his funeral. Another team of BTBL members then handed out the roses to family members, friends and members of the law enforcement community mourning this tragic loss.
Thoughts from a Rose Prep Veteran, Meghan T. Today several of my sisters in blue devoted their time to honor Officer Gomm. We prepared 1300 blue roses at the request of his family. Rose prepping is theraputic for me and after doing it several times and all the positions each task reminds me the importance of the process and the symbolism it brings.
We start by peeling off blemished petals and extra leaves which reminds me to focus on the important things in life, and shed away all the burdens I carry around daily with me...that in the end they are not needed.
We spray the roses with blue spray paint and those speckles of blue are each thoughts and prayers we have for the officer and his loved ones.
We fill the water bulb to put the rose in to keep it healthy and full. It reminds me that we can only receive equally what we are willing to put into it. The rose will not last long if it is not properly cared for.
Lastly, we tie a printed card of rememberance to each rose. Each knot we tie solidifies the bonds we share to the community, the family, the department and to each other.
These roses are given to people in attendance at the officers funeral. Some are held tightly in prayer, some are laid on the casket at the burial, some are in cases but all provide comfort to each recipient in their own way.
It was a honor to help provide 1300 moments of comfort in what was the result of a terrible tragedy and the loss of life for Officer Gomm. Our thoughts are with you tomorrow, rest in peace.
Thoughts from a Rose Prep Rookie, Elizabeth S.
Tonight, I had a humbling and emotional experience. I had the opportunity to join 30+ other wives from throughout Minnesota in the preparation of blue memorial roses for the funeral of Officer Gomm. Although I have been part of Backing the Blue Line: Police Wives of Minnesota since 2014, I have never stepped out of my comfort zone to volunteer and take part in such an important part of the law enforcement community, honoring the service and life of an officer.
It was absolutely amazing to see how well planned the leadership team was with the preparation of stations to start the long process of putting together beautiful blue roses with tags of remembrance adorning them. Myself, along with three other wives from my area, drove to the event together. We thought we would stick together, but as we got started, we were numbered off into four different groups. A few other ladies and I had the job of spray painting blue tips onto hundreds of beautiful white roses!
I got to know a little about some new wonderful women who all have similar hopes and fears about their spouse’s career in law enforcement as I do. One thing I know that all of us law enforcement wives hope for is that our spouse always makes it home from their shift. No matter what area of law enforcement our significant other is in, we can’t help but fear the unknown, but we trust their training and their partners to keep them safe.
However, if something were to ever happen to my husband, I have no doubt in my mind I would have hundreds of women from across the state by my side. I feel honored to have taken part in the rose preparation this evening and I hope that Officer Gomm’s family knows that they have thousands of people from all areas of the law enforcement community supporting them through this difficult time.
I am looking forward to getting involved in future Backing the Blue Line events, hopefully under much different circumstances. I hope I continue to get to know more members of the BTBL community – it was nice to put faces to Facebook names.
Backing the Blue Line would like to thank the following local law enforcement agencies, media outlets and a restaurant for their support of the Officer Gomm Rose Preparation Event: Ramsey County Sheriff's Office - for sharing their facilities and providing a place for our volunteers to get the roses ready.
Acapulco Mexican Restaurant Maplewood - for providing a wonderful meal to our Rose Preparation volunteers.
The support of our community helps us help Minnesota law enforcement officers and their families.
Photo Gallery: Rose Prep and Funeral Service As Captured by Members of Backing the Blue Line
About the writers: Both women are members of Backing the Blue Line of MN.
Elizabeth S. is a K9 Deputy wife in East Central Minnesota. Elizabeth and her husband have been married for 5 years and they have a 10-month-old daughter. Elizabeth is a 3rd grade teacher, manager of schedules, and “zookeeper” of three dogs – a German Shepard (the K9), a Labrador, and a toy poodle (he’s the one really in charge). She is fueled by coffee and organized chaos.
Meghan T. is wife to a Minneapolis Police Officer and Backing the Blue Line member since 2012. She previously held leadership roles, including Membership Chair, Merchandise Coordinator, and Vice President with the BTBL Board of Directors. Daily coffee drinker, kickboxing enthusiast, Green Bay Packer fan, and experienced traveler, Meghan's favorite vacation destination is Mexico.