Fred Gaudet honored posthumously for police service to the community on Webb Grubb Day
WEBB GRUBB DAY – MAYOR McCAULEY REMARKS
WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2019 – 3:00 P.M. – PUBLIC SAFETY COMPLEX
Good afternoon & greetings from City Hall. On behalf of our entire City Council, 85 fulltime employees, & 12 members of our Police Department, I’m honored to welcome everyone to our third, annual Wilbert H. “Webb” Grubb Police Officer Recognition Day. We are very pleased to honor all members of our police officer community during National Peace Officers’ Memorial Day which is today, & National Police Week that runs from May 12-18. It is most fitting that we again honor & pay formal tribute to our only city police officer ever to die in the line of duty, Officer Wilbert H. “Webb” Grubb. In May of 1962, President Kennedy signed the executive order establishing this week’s recognition of our police community.
I will share more with you shortly about the incredible story of Webb Grubb that is both a sad yet fascinating one. We are very pleased to welcome back several of Officer Grubb’s family members, and I’ll call upon Donna Matthews, Webb Grubb’s niece, to introduce Officer Grubb’s family members who have graciously joined us today.
Today, we also celebrate the life of one of our finest police officers ever to serve our B-U community, the late, great Police Chief & Sheriff Fred Gaudet, our third Webb Grubb honoree. As I was preparing for today’s ceremony, I remarked to Brian & Mary Gaudet, that it’s difficult to accept that it’s been nearly 20 years since Fred’s sudden passing in November of 1999. As police officers go, Fred was a Hall of Famer. Fred was a great friend to so many of us. He was the consummate professional, who made our Buckhannon PD better, & as Sheriff of Upshur County, he made us better. He helped make our community safer & better. What better legacy could a hero leave? We still miss Fred. I’d like to call upon Fred’s son, Brian Gaudet, to introduce us to the members of Fred Gaudet’s family. (Brian Gaudet introduced members of the Gaudet family in attendance.)
It is my pleasure to introduce to you our excellent Police Chief, Matt Gregory.
Buckhannon Police Chief Matt Gregory:
You are a lucky person if on the pathway of life, you encounter someone who guides you and inspires you enough for them to be called a mentor. It is truly a wonderful thing to have someone to look up to. One of those people to me was Fred Gaudet.
One of my earliest memories of Fred was when he was Sheriff of Upshur County. I remember how he would come to school and talk about police officers and safety and how, as a young boy, I would stare wide-eyed at him and be enthralled by everything he had to say. From that point on, I knew that I wanted to be just like him, that I wanted to be a police officer myself.
Years later, just after I graduated high school, I was working for the city as summer help. One of my jobs was to clean out the basement area of City Hall. At that time, Fred’s office was in this location and I can remember seeing all of his training certificates and other accomplishments hanging on his wall. I took a moment to glance at each one and stare at them with the same wide-eyed expression that I had when I first encountered him when I was a youngster. Again, I knew that as I was preparing to start college, that I not only wanted to be a police officer, but I too wanted to apply myself and be successful, just as Fred had.
Fast forward a few years later and as I was preparing to enter the work force in my chosen profession of law enforcement, I was lucky enough to be hired to the Buckhannon Police Department by Chief Fred Gaudet, the very person I had looked up to for so many years. From the very first day, Fred imparted an abundance of wisdom upon me as he discussed the virtues of police work and taught me how to be a police officer. I hung on his every word, especially when he made the remark saying, “It takes a special person to be a police officer.” To me, this comment encapsulated all of the professional qualities that I knew Fred to possess.
Fred was a tremendous person to work for. His experience and his capability of being a good police officer and police chief were second to none. I learned so much from him and feel that I am much better because of him.
When Fred passed away a couple years later, I was devastated. It felt as though I had lost not only a boss, but a father figure as well. But, his memory lives on. There is hardly a day that goes by that I don’t think of Fred and the various bits of wisdom that he passed on to me. His commitment to law enforcement and the City of Buckhannon is enduring and as we dedicate this wall today in honor of Chief Fred Gaudet, let us remember all of the mentors that we have encountered in our lives and reflect on the positive differences they have made.
Rather than me offering a narrative about Webb Grubb’s story, service, & ultimate sacrifice- I’d rather read the legend to the sign we dedicated two years ago in tribute to Wilbert H. “Webb” Grubb Lane. <see Webb Grubb story in program attached below>
Brian Gaudet shared stories of his father.
(3) [unveiling of Wall of Blue] Our Wall of Blue shall be a permanent tribute to all of our community’s police officers who selflessly serve & protect us every shift. Appropriately, I ask that the families of Webb Grubb & Fred Gaudet come forth to pull off the cover so that we may all see our Public Safety Complex’s newest. Ladies & gentlemen, our Buckhannon Police Department’s Wall of Blue-
WHEREAS, our Buckhannon-Upshur community is very proud & supportive of our police officers who serve & protect us all while placing their lives on the line during every one of the challenging & uncertain shifts they work; and,
WHEREAS, the City of Buckhannon in 2017 resolved to annually recognize, honor, & pay tribute to all police officers on each Wednesday during the annual West Virginia Strawberry Festival & on May 17, 2017 specially recognized Wilbert H. “Webb” Grubb, the only City police officer ever to die in the line of duty who gave his life for our community on April 21, 1940, & then in May of 2018 recognized former BPD Lieutenant Keith Rowan; and,
WHEREAS, our City government family & Police Department will celebrate the third, annual Webb Grubb Police Officer Recognition Day to be conducted at our City’s Public Safety Complex beginning at 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 15, 2019, & our B-U community is proud to posthumously recognize as the third recipient of our BPD’s most prestigious award, our late Police Chief Fred M. Gaudet as our 2019 Webb Grubb honoree & encourage all of Chief Gaudet’s family members, former fellow officers, friends, & admirers as well as those of Officer Webb Grubb & further of all police officers during our third annual tribute & celebration; and,
WHEREAS, our City further shall dedicate its “Wall of Blue” – in honor of & tribute to Officer Webb Grubb, Lieutenant Keith Rowan, Chief Fred Gaudet, & all of our future police officer honorees during Webb Grubb Police Officer Recognition Days to come.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, DAVID W. McCAULEY, MAYOR OF THE CITY OF BUCKHANNON, pursuant to the power & authority duly vested in me, do hereby proclaim Wednesday, May 15, 2019 to be “WEBB GRUBB POLICE OFFICER RECOGNITION DAY” throughout our City of Buckhannon. I further proclaim that our City’s 2019 third annual honoree shall be CHIEF FRED GAUDET who died while serving as our police chief on November 2, 1999. I hereby direct the installation of a permanent bench & wall suitable for installation of placards to be located along Webb Grubb Lane located around our Public Safety Complex to forever honor & recognize CHIEF GAUDET together with WILBERT H. “WEBB” GRUBB, LIEUTENANT KEITH ROWAN & all future police officer honorees for their gallant service in protecting all of us in our Buckhannon-Upshur community.
I urge all residents & Festival visitors alike to join the family & friends of our 2019 honoree, Chief Fred Gaudet, together with all area police officers, the family of Officer Grubb & me, along with other members of our City government family, & friends near & far at our third annual “Webb Grubb Police Officer Recognition Day” public ceremony. May every Wednesday during Buckhannon’s annual Strawberry Festival now & always be known as “Webb Grubb Day” in honor & memory of our late, fallen police officer, Wilbert H. “Webb” Grubb, & further in tribute to & appreciation of the dedicated, public service of all of our B-U community’s police officers.
Given under my hand and official seal of The City of Buckhannon, this 15th day of May, 2019
David W. McCauley, Mayor
The Buckhannon Police Department, led by Chief Matt Gregory, employs 11 full-time officers, 1 part-time, and one administrative assistant. The department is responsible for community safety, crime prevention, and apprehension of offenders. The Buckhannon Police Department is currently seeking national accreditation through the CALEA program, which ensures compliance with national regulations and best practices in policing and crime reduction. In an emergency, call 911. To report a crime via the anonymous tip line, call (304) 473-1001. For assistance or questions, please call (304) 472-5723.
Buckhannon VIPS through the Buckhannon Volunteer Center: https://buckhannonwv.galaxydigital.com/need/detail/?need_id=363411
And “Click Here to Volunteer” then search for VIPS.
Media: Callie Cronin Sams, firstname.lastname@example.org, (304) 472-1651