Fellow police officers. Firefighters. Friends and family. Members of her church.
They came to University Hospital to help in any way they could.
They came for Molly Bowden, the Columbia police officer hospitalized in intensive care after being shot Monday night during a traffic stop.
There were sandwiches. Numerous deliveries of fresh flowers and balloons. And lots of prayers.
“Our pastor’s been over there night and day,” said Janice Dempsey, secretary of Grace Bible Church, which Bowden and her parents attend. “I know quite a few people from the church have been over there. They can’t see her, so they go to support the family and pray for them.”
The church started a prayer chain Tuesday morning that was used to notify the congregation.
Dempsey spent Tuesday at the church, answering phone calls and praying for the family.
“Ten people called just to say, ‘Can I help in any way? Let me know,’” Dempsey said.
Harold Bossaller, a former teacher of Bowden’s and a family friend, describes her as athletic, outgoing, polite and fun.
Bowden is the type of person, Bossaller said, who if told she can’t do something will smile and say, ‘Watch me.’
Capt. Sam Hargadine of the Columbia Police Department said Bowden wanted to be a police officer for a long time. She’s been on the force for three years.
“When she was about 19 or 20, she was too young to be a police officer,” he said. “She took the test and initially worked for the university police department and eventually we hired her. She’s one of the family now.”
Chuck Miller, a vocational agriculture instructor at Hickman High School, has kept in contact with Bowden since she graduated in 1996. He still keeps a photo of her — she then went by her maiden name, Molly Thomas — in his office.
“She is a very well-liked young lady,” he said. “She has enough conviction to disagree with you, and that was OK.”
Miller said Bowden really enjoys her job. “She was doing what she wanted,” he said.
Bowden married fellow Columbia police officer Corey Bowden on July 29, 2003. The couple is raising Corey’s two young sons.
Columbia police Officer Tim Timmerman knocked on the Bowdens’ front door in the Blue Acres mobile home park early Tuesday afternoon.
“I just came down to check on him as a friend,” Timmerman said.
Timmerman said he’s known Corey ever since he joined the department. “It’s especially difficult this time, because they are both police officers,” he said.
After knocking on the door a couple of times, he concluded that no one was home.
Chuck Harris, 56, has been a neighbor of the Bowdens for 13 years.
“They’re both police officers, so I don’t know when they got to see each other. They worked different shifts a lot of the time but … (the Bowdens are) just great people all the way around. It’s very tragic, it is, I just hope to God she pulls through.”
On Tuesday evening, a message penned on the outside of a blue envelope left at the entrance of the Bowden’s home reflected the sentiments of the community: “Get better soon.”
Julie Morris, Ferdous Al-Faruque, David Serber, Jennifer Smith, Sean McGann and Sarah Gravemann of the Missourian staff contributed to this report.