FORT WORTH, Texas - The family of a Fort Worth officer who was shot and injured in the line of duty last month accepted a big show of gratitude from the community.
Officer Matt Pearce’s wife accepted a check Wednesday night for more than $150,000. The money was donated through fundraising efforts for the officer who was critically injured March 15 during a shootout and chase with a wanted felon and his son.
Sherri Aaron, wife of Mansfield's police chief, almost immediately got to work with an army of volunteers selling #teampearce t-shirts and collecting donations to help officer Pearce's family pay expenses that aren't covered by insurance or other benefits. Those efforts lead to Wednesday night’s check presentation.
Officer Pearce's wife, Laura, addressed the large crowd and shared a positive update.
“Matt was moved yesterday to the telemetry unit, which is a step down, and he is out of ICU,” said Laura as the crowd erupted in cheers. “He's completely back to himself. The old Matt is in there. Dare I say, a better Matt is there.”
She thanked everyone for their prayers, time and money. Volunteers presented checks that, so far, total $153,873.
"I think this number reflects love the community has for police officers,” said Laura.
The man at the center of it all appeared on a pre-recorded video during the check presentation.
"I'm coming back, I'll be back,” said Officer Pearce through a FaceTime video from the hospital. “So thank you very very much. It means the world to me.”
“I know so many of them,” said Aaron. “I know their hearts. I know they're servants, and I just want people to see that they do really care about our community.”
In addition to Tuesday’s check, a GoFundMe account has raised more than $85,000.
Whataburger is holding an “Oh Whata Night” fundraiser to continue collecting money for the family. The restaurant will donate 20 percent of its sales from 4-7 p.m. Thursday. Participating restaurants include:
- 9200 Benbrook Blvd., Benbrook, Texas 76126
- 901 E. Seminary Drive, Fort Worth, Texas 76115
- 109 NE 28th Street, Fort Worth, Texas 76106
- 3701 West Freeway, Fort Worth, Texas 76107
- 3160 SE Loop 820, Fort Worth, Texas 76140
- 2236 Jacksboro Highway, Fort Worth, Texas 76114
- 3313 S. Cherry Lane, Fort Worth, Texas 76116
- 9100 N. Tarrant Parkway, North Richland Hills, Texas 76182