ROSEVILLE, Minn. (WCCO) -- One by one, more than 1,300 roses are being painted blue on Wednesday night to honor the life of fallen correctional officer Joseph Gomm.
A local nonprofit of law enforcement spouses called "Backing the Blue Line" will deliver the roses to the funeral, a heartfelt but sobering reminder of the sacrifices officers are willing to make.
"When we are doing these blue roses, when we are getting ready for a funeral to lay an officer to rest, it really brings to the forefront that is a reality, that is a 'What If' every day, even if we try to live our lives not thinking about it," said Backing the Blue Line member Shannon.
With a personalized tag and blue & black ribbons tied around each stem, they'll be handed out to the law enforcement officers attending the funeral, and also to Gomm's family members.
"It's a small gesture that we can do to demonstrate that we are mourning with them," said Shannon.
At the cemetery where Gomm will be buried in Roseville, preparations are well underway, too.
After working at the cemetery for 45 years, Superintendent Larry Hudella has helped bury many law enforcement officers over the years, but it hasn't gotten any easier.
"A loved one's a loved one," said Hudella.
He's been working closely with the Department of Corrections to make certain the proper logistics are in place for such a large funeral, ensuring this fallen correctional officer the burial he deserves.
About 5,000 people are expected to attend the funeral, which will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday in Arden Hills.
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