MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A young Champlin man is leading a one-person campaign to reach out to every police officer in the country. He came up with a simple yet lasting way to thank officers for their service.
WCCO found out why a young man who has challenges of his own is determined to help officers who are having a bad day.READ MORE: Minnesota Reaches 400 Traffic Deaths; Earliest Since 2007
Surrounded by a supportive family, Matthew Johnson, a Monticello-raised kid, often felt alone amidst peers.
“I was always that shy kid, never really had friends, and sat by myself at lunch,” said Johnson.
The 20-year-old is on the autism spectrum. Before he graduated high school, he made a life decision, to grow his social skills.
“I figured, I’ve got to change now because I’m not gonna sit and be this depressed lonesome guy all my life,” said Johnson.
So he got into therapy and started a social mission, to write, send, and hand out letters to thank and encourage Twin Cities police officers.
“I feel like it was a good avenue for me to go down, developing these skills, interacting with these heroes,” he said.
Sgt. Patrick Faber of Fridley Police got handed a card while working a call for a theft at a store.READ MORE: Attorney General Ellison Reaches Settlement In Price-Gouging Lawsuit Against Sparboe Farms
“I was clearing the scene and he approached me and he just wanted to hand me a card and I thought it was really uplifting, it really did change my day,” said Faber.
Johnson decided to open up his mission, sending letters to 85,000 police officers across the country and that’s just the beginning.
“I want to get to the point where every officer has my appreciation,” he said.
And as it turns out, these letters are what’s kept Johnson going. He says he is no longer that shy high school kid.
“Not anymore, I finally said I am not gonna let that stereotype of autism get to me,” said Johnson.
He says he has gotten thank you’s from around the country, officers said they keep his letter posted in their lockers or on their desks.
Johnson says this project has also given him great confidence. He graduated from Dunwoody College and now has a job specializing in electrical work.MORE NEWS: WCCO Minneapolis Mayoral Debate: Candidates Tackle Policing, Housing, Rising Crime Rates
If you’d like to help with his mission, he can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.