Christopher Matlosz was one of the newest members of the Howell Police Explorer's Club in the summer of 1997. That was the beginning of a career in law enforcement that ended too soon when he was shot and killed in the line of duty in Lakewood in January 2011.
This past week Matlosz was honored by the not only for making the ultimate sacrifice during his service with the Lakewood Police Department but also for his time with his hometown officers. Plaques honoring Matlosz will hang in the police department building. In addition, Matlosz's mother Jane Colaio was presented with a shadow box of items officers used while representing her son in the annual .
Colaio said when she first brought her son to a meeting with the explorer's club she did not know it would lead to his pursuing a career in law enforcement. "He didn't know what he wanted to do," she said. "He was really quiet and he didn't have too many friends so I thought this would be a way for him to meet people."
She said if it were up to him, he would not have gone back for a second meeting unless she had forced him to go. "I made him go to the second one and then it just exploded from there. He loved it."
Not only did he stick with the club, but he thrived as a member earning a variety of awards and being promoted to the rank of sergeant for all his contributions. Det. Rob Ortenzi, who worked with Matlosz when he was with the club, said he was a dedicated member of the group. "The kid always had a smile on his face," he said.
Even when both were finished with the explorer's club Ortenzi said they would still see each other around town. "Then I didn't see him for a long time and the next thing I know he comes up behind me one day, pats me on the back and he's wearing a Lakewood police uniform and it was amazing to see," he said.
After the ceremony, Colaio said she was glad to be a part of the event in her son's memory. "I think this is just a special one because it's where he started," she said. "This is where he really realized what he wanted to do."