By Jeff Wagner

HOPKINS, Minn. (WCCO) — At Your Art’s Desire on Minnetonka Boulevard, Michelle Williamson-Herren fills frames will all types of colors.

But it’s the one floating outside that carries heartfelt importance.

“This makes me feel so incredible,” she said of the yellow balloons tied outside her shop, and that of several other businesses along the block. “Yellow is one of those colors that’s energetic, lifts the spirit.”

A lift of the spirits is what Scott Webster hoped for when he called on his neighbors to create a colorful way of saying “Welcome Home” to his wife, Karen, after nearly four months in the hospital.

“All of a sudden I come down the street and there’s just balloons everywhere,” he said.

Webster said he strategically planned the route home so Karen could see the balloons.

“By the time she got home, a little overwhelmed,” he said of her feelings.

Being home and alive is really all that mattered to him.

In April, police chased a speeding driver through Hopkins but stopped for safety reasons. The driver, David Baxter, later crossed the center line on Minnetonka Boulevard, hitting Karen head-on. Baxter died at the scene, as well as a family dog riding in Karen’s car.

“I said, she’s gonna make it no matter what. I said there’s no thinking that there’s any other possibility,” Webster said.

Enduring multiple surgeries and physical therapy, Karen persevered through the pain.

“I just want her to know that she’s inspired a lot of people with her resiliency,” said Williamson-Herren. “I think she’s blessed to have a family that wanted her to have this welcome home and know that her community has been with her.”

Webster has been grateful for the community support, and said police officers and firefighters stopped by the house Monday to help welcome Karen home.

“All of a sudden they are now your buddies and your friends and they care,” he said. “Word has spread, and it’s just one big family.”

Webster said his wife has one more ankle surgery scheduled, but should be able to walk and drive again in the future.

Jeff Wagner