Wabasha holds vigil for fallen officer Matthew Ruge

Remembering Matthew Ruge

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(ABC 6 News) – Hundreds from Wabasha and beyond showed their support for friends and family of fallen officer Matthew Ruge at a vigil under the bridge at Main Street Wednesday night.

Ruge was one of three first responders who died during a shooting in Burnsville Sunday morning after responding to a domestic abuse call.

Those who knew Ruge growing up say law enforcement was his calling.

“Matt was a great police officer who served with passion and kindness,” said Jim Freihammer, former Superintendent of Wabasha-Kellog High School, at the vigil.

As the son of a law enforcement officer, it’s always been Ruge’s dream to follow in his father’s footsteps.

His first step was serving as an assistant to his high school’s former school resource officer, David Metcalf, who now serves as an investigative officer with the Wabasha Police Department.

“He was very promising, he was very dedicated to it, always asking questions, really wanted to learn,” said Metcalf.

Part of that learning process was learning the risks, like the possibility he might one day sacrifice himself in the line of duty.

“We sign up for this, whether, we don’t know whether we’re going home or not,” said Brian Sylvester, the Wabasha County 911 Supervisor.

Despite knowing he may one day respond a call that would be his last, Ruge’s dream never wavered.

“He was well aware of that when he went into it, but I think his dedication to serving, helping people really kept him on that path,” said Metcalf.

Another milestone of Ruge’s was winning a scholarship given to students entering law enforcement, named after Lake City police officer Sean Scheider, who was killed in the line of duty in 2011.

“It’s both very ironic to receive it, and sad what the outcome,” said Sylvester, who was the one to honor Ruge with the scholarship.

“He just was a very genuine, very smart intelligent kid who had a passion for helping people,” said Sylvester.

Though Ruge’s time was cut short, he died as the hero he always dreamed of being.

“His goal was to protect and serve, and ultimately, he did,” said Sylvester.

As the community continues to mourn Ruge and his fellow fallen first responders Paul Elmstrand and Adam Finseth, the public is welcome to attend a memorial service in their honor.

The service will take place Feb 28 at 11 a.m. at Grace Church in Eden Prarie.