It had been more than 15 years since Adam Matlosz was last in the cafeteria at the Newbury Elementary School. On Friday afternoon,the former student was there to receive a special honor on behalf of his late brother and former Lakewood Police Officer Christopher Matlosz.
Christopher Matlosz became the first Newbury grad to be inducted into the newly founded Wall of Fame at the school. The honor comes almost exactly five months after he was killed in the line of duty, and his brother said Friday's event was another example of the help and recognition his family has received since that time.
"The last few months have been really rough but I'm really overwhelmed by all the support that I'm receiving from all the police departments around especially Lakewood," he said.
Being back in the Newbury cafeteria brought back some definite memories for Matlosz, making the day even more special.
"It's really amazing to come back and to get a plaque for my brother and to have my brother's name on the wall every time somebody walks in," he said. "It's really an honor."
The Lakewood Police Department was also recognized and represented at the ceremony by Lt. Tom Langenberger who said the officers have been through a lot in the last five months.
"We went from extreme shock to a go get 'em mode to catch the murderer of Officer Matlosz which thankfully we did in a pretty short period of time with great help from outside agencies," he said.
Whether it was patrolling the streets or helping with the arrangements during the funeral or even arranging for counseling for whoever needed it, Langenberger said he and his fellow officers have appreciated all they assistance they got from neighboring towns.
Even five months later, he said the tragic death of Matlosz stays with the officers to this day. "There's not a day that goes by that we don't think of Chris and that we don't honor Chris," he said. "He was such a big spirit in life that it's not only a tragedy to lose any officer, but Chris was bigger than life so it just hurts that much more."
Having gotten his police career started as a member of the Howell Explorer's post, Matlosz took what he learned at the township's schools and used that in his daily life. Now the students at the Newbury school will have a daily reminder of one of their own and that dreams can be reached.
Despite having that time living his dream cut short, Friday's ceremony was further proof of just how much of an impact Matlosz made as a valued member of the Lakewood department while making his hometown proud of all that he accomplished.