Saturday, September 30, 2006


The Lakeland/Polk County community is recovering from the shock and grief many of us feel following the tragic death of Polk County Sheriff's Deputy Matt Williams Thursday in the line of duty.

It was announced that his funeral service will be held Tuesday at Victory Assembly of God Church, 1401 Griffin Road in north Lakeland. It is a few blocks west of U.S. 98 near I-4. Services will begin at 1:00 PM, but those attending are asked to arrive by 11:30 AM. Williams, and the cremeated remains of his canine partner Diogi, will be buried together in Auburndale.

If you have business in that area of Lakeland during the mid-afternoon Tuesday, it is an area you may want to avoid. If you have never witnessed the procession after the funeral of a police officer killed in the line of duty, it is a truly moving sight as a very long line of police cruisers and motorcycles from throughout the state travel slowly to the officer's final resting place and the traditional farewell there to honour one of their own. You can certainly expect that Tuesday afternoon, as well as a number of people along the procession route to bid farewell to one of Polk's finest.

There have been three funds set up at local banks to assist Deputy Williams' widow and children:

--- Lakeland attorney Scott Langston has set up an account at Citrus & Chemical Bank. Donations can be made at any C&C branch throughout Polk County, or by mailing a donation to

Matthew Williams Memorial Fund
(Account 060022741)
c/o Citrus & Chemical Bank
114 North Tennessee Avenue
Lakeland, Florida 33801

--- One of the newer banks in the area, Community Southern Bank, has also started a fund. Checks should be made out to "Polk County Sheriff's Department Benefit Account". You can bring donations to the bank's Lakeland office, or mail donations to:

Polk County Sheriff's Department Benefit Account
c/o Community Southern Bank
3234 South Florida Avenue
Lakeland, Florida 33803

--- And Wachovia Bank has begun a trust fund for the slain deputy's family. Donations can be made at any area Wachovia branch, or can be mailed to:

Matt Williams Family Trust Fund
Wachovia Bank
c/o Marilyn Watson
203 Avenue A
Winter Haven, Florida 33881


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