Yearly Event Takes Place May 16 this Year
An annual event for Police Memorial Day shows that duty and sacrifice are never forgotten.
The Marshfield Professional Police Association (M.P.P.A.) will honor the memorial day with a ceremony at Beell Stadium on May 16 at 6:30 p.m. and welcome the public to attend the ceremony with food and refreshments afterwards. Each year the event draws anywhere between 100-150 people.
“It is our week to reflect back and honor our brothers and sisters who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their community,” Josh Larsen, Patrol Officer and organizer. “It’s not just another gathering or ‘get together’ for us. We want their family and loved ones to see that they are never forgotten, that their loss was not in vain. They gave their lives for the community and we don’t take that lightly by any means. It’s very humbling and it is a reminder of what this profession stands for.”
Each year the association honors Fred A. Beell, a Marshfield police officer and professional wrestler who was killed while responding to a burglary call at the Marshfield Brewery on August 5, 1933. The burglar was later caught and jailed for the murder.
“Officer Beell was the first and only Police Officer to be killed in the line of duty from the Marshfield Police Department,” he said. “He gave his life to ensure others could have a better one, and each year we will always pay tribute for that reason.”
Beell was born in West Prussia in 1876, migrated at a young age to America. He joined the Wisconsin National Guard and made a name for himself as a professional wrestler, winning the World Light Heavyweight Championship three times, and the American Heavyweight Championship and Northwest Championship one time each. His accomplishments were recognized by the WI Athletic Hall of Fame in 1972. Beell joined the police department in 1921 after his wrestling career ended.
“His death made headlines throughout the country, so much so that it was read in newspapers and was actually a featured story in the 1938 edition of True Detectives, which was very popular magazine back then,” Larsen noted.
The ceremony will also honor Wisconsin State Trooper Anthony Borostowski and Everest Metro Police Detective Jason Weiland, who were both killed last year in the line of duty. Dr Murali Narayana, Executive Director of the Marshfield Clinic, is guest speaker while Mayor Bob McManus is declaring the proclamation for the day’s event. Larsen will give a short reflection on the year, and the police department will award current officers who have gone above and beyond the line of duty. In case of inclement weather, the event will move to the Middle School cafeteria nearby.
Larsen took over the organizing from Lt. Keffer and was surprised by how much planning goes into the event. “If any of you know Lt. Keffer, then you understand what type of shoes I had to fill. He is a perfectionist and it really shows when you look at some of the things he is directly involved in,” Larsen said. “One of the biggest struggles is finding a date that is within Police Memorial Week and does not cause conflict with everyone involved. It was a little challenging, but it all has worked out. It’s pretty awesome to see it all come together. I just hope that Lt Keffer gives me the thumbs up when it is all done and over with.”
The event format will remain the same this year and may evolve in the future. “It really isn’t my decision alone. We are a team, so I think it is up to the majority of our officers to decide what direction we want to take things,” Larsen said. “I just don’t want to lose sight of what this event represents and what it means to our profession. I want to stay true to that, and I think Lt. Keffer has done a very nice job of that up to this point.”
Each year the day is a special one for the department. “Having our community members attend this event means the world to us. It reminds us that we are still needed and wanted in our community,” Larsen said. “We dedicate 365 days a year to our community, we just ask that they dedicate an hour to us and come say hello if they can. If they cannot make it, I ask that they take a minute out of their week or day to think about the officers who have fallen, maybe say a prayer for their family and know that because of the sacrifices they have made were for the greater good.”
After the ceremony, complementary burgers, brats, and dessert are available. “It really is a great way to get to know everyone and also say hello to those we don’t get to see often,” said Larsen. “The door is open, and we invite everyone to come join us for this great event!”