Beell Remembered and Honored

By Jeff Sharkey

The squared circle has long been a safe haven for many members of the wrestling fraternity. Between the length of some grueling road trips and the occasional encounters with their over-exuberant fan base, the wrestler may find the familiarity of four corners as a second home.

With the lights above providing a roof and the ropes representing their white picket fence, a sense of security and comfort could be all the wrestler needed to be satisfied with their surroundings.

Fred Beell was one wrestler, however, who entered the arena of law enforcement. As a member of the Marshfield, Wisconsin police department, Beell adhered to the “protect and serve” credo. He left wrestling and the spoils that would go to the victor. As a wrestler, Beell was champion of the world in 1906. As a police officer, he was a champion for the common good in life. And after his death, on August 5, 1933, Fred Beell has forever retained that title.

The Cauliflower Alley Club was proudly represented on May 18, 2005 in Marshfield, WI for Peace Officer Memorial Day. CAC members Paul Farber, Juan Hernandez and Jeff Sharkey were in attendance as the Marshfield Professional Police Association presented a program to respect, honor and remember those law enforcement officials who have been killed or disabled in the line of duty. The CAC’s 2005 Posthumous Award accepted by Farber on behalf of the Fred Beell family in Las Vegas was in turn presented to Marshfield Chief of Police Joseph Stroik at the ceremony by Hernandez.

The evening’s program was organized by Marshfield Police Officer Dennis Keffer, who had earlier given the CAC contingent a tour of the department’s facilities, the site of the crime that Officer Beell had responded to, resulting in his shooting death, and the Beell gravesite. Keffer also showcased the athletic field named for Fred Beell, which is designated as such by a commemorative stone and plaque placed at its entrance. Kudos to Officer Keffer for his enthusiasm and attention to detail in coordinating the event.

After an invocation by Marshfield Police Chaplain Mark Lafferty, Marshfield Mayor Michael Meyers followed with the official proclamation of the city’s recognition of Peace Officer Memorial Day and Police Week. 70th Assembly District Representative Amy Sue Vruwink recognized the sacrifices made by our men and women in blue in the pursuit of public service. Vruwink further challenged all citizens to strengthen their communities through volunteerism, exercising their rights to vote, serve on jury duty when called upon, celebrate diversity, and otherwise cherish the freedoms we enjoy in America.

Farber, himself the Chief of Police in Peotone, Illinois, and Hernandez, his police chaplain, spoke to those in attendance about Beell’s contributions to both the professional wrestling and law enforcement fields. Farber’s unique position as being the only Chief of Police involved with professional wrestling afforded him the opportunity to speak to the similarities of the family nature that exists in both lines of work. Hernandez announced that the choice of Fred Beell for the 2005 award was a unanimous one by the CAC Board of Directors.

Officer Keffer recognized two other losses, Special Agent Jay Balchunas of the Wisconsin Department of Justice, and Marshfield Police Officer Joel Walsh with special remembrances.

The event concluded with the Marshfield Professional Police Association Color Guard’s playing of “Amazing Grace” on bagpipes, followed by a 21-gun salute, and the playing of “Taps.”