Matt Barbee Update
On December 14, 2017, Matt Barbee was injured in an off-duty traffic accident while driving home from work. As a result of the accident, Matt’s prognosis was dire. We rallied to support Matt and his family, with officers remaining by Matt’s side 24 hours a day for the first week. Within two weeks, Matt’s outlook began to change. Matt, only Matt, could survive such a horrific accident! We began to focus on Matt’s future.
City of Tigard employee donations of time poured in quickly, with five months of donated time in place to keep Matt’s family income status quo as he continued to face what was ahead. Surgeries brought hope, but new concerns also emerged. There was no greater joy, though, as we all celebrated the tales of Matt requesting McDonald’s hamburgers and milkshakes, or walking into his hospital room and having him call you by name. We were all truly amazed. But, again… only Matt! We would expect nothing less than a miracle now.
The fundraising began almost immediately. Donations poured in at our Christmas party. Although a private party with just Matt’s coworkers present, the wallets opened. After all, it was for Matt. Online fundraising through the TPOA website reached concerned folks, near and far. The Tigard community, friends, and friends of friends, alike, gave what they could. A local pub, Tapphoria, held a fundraiser. The raffle prizes donated by a number of local businesses and a night of hope and joy raised a significant amount of money. Most importantly, it was all for Matt.
After months of reaching out, press releases, and social media awareness, we closed out the fundraiser and gave a check of more than $44,000 to Matt’s family. Matt was home, and now his recovery began. Matt will always face physical limitations due to the extent of his injuries, and healing from his traumatic brain injury is still part of the great unknown. It has been a year, quite a year on this roller coaster.
The man responsible for Matt’s accident has had his day in court and has started to serve his time. Regardless, no amount of jail time can turn back the clock and return Matt to his life before December 14, 2017. This week, Matt’s career with the Tigard Police Department officially closes, as he continues to focus on his recovery. Matt will forever be a “Brother in Blue,” that we surely know. It remains to be seen how far Matt can progress in his recovery - that chapter has yet to be written. We do know that if you know Matt, like we do, absolutely anything is possible.