Hall of Fame Inductees July 10, 1998 – Superior, WI

Jeff Keehan

Manitowac Fire Department

On the night of May 12, 1995, while responding to a house fire, the crews were told that a person was still inside the burning home. Firefighter Keehan risked his own life to search the second floor for a child trapped by the fire in her home. Entry into the main floor was impossible due to a large amount of fire that had left the stairway completely blocked. Firefighter Keehan climbed a ladder to enter the second floor to search for the missing girl in an area directly above the fire. He had to withstand extreme heat and the dangers of the floor collapsing beneath him. After finding the unconscious girl, he carried her to the ladder and brought her outside. He then continued to battle the blaze until it was brought under control. Tragically, the young girl was not able to survive the ordeal, but was given the best chance possible by the selfless and courageous actions of Firefighter Keehan.

Calvin Phillips

Oshkosh Fire Department

Firefighter Phillips achieved Hall of Fame status through lifetime achievement in the fire service. He served 41 years with the Oshkosh Fire Department, the last 12 as chief, retiring in 1989. Firefighter Phillips has instructed thousands in the fire service on topics such as fire investigation, fire science, arson investigation, officer training, and much more. Phillips has also co-authored two textbooks titled Investigating the Fireground. His lifetime of work, dedicated to educated fellow firefighters, is exemplary and has certainly opened the eyes of many of his students and co-workers. The dedication of people like Phillips provides the rest of us with the tools and knowledge that make firefighters around the world respected by everyone.

Finlay Beaton

Superior Police Department

Officer Beaton was 48 years old when he interrupted a Sunday morning burglary, July 27, 1919.  He was on foot patrol when he heard an explosion inside the Kinney Meat Market.  When he walked to the rear of the market, he was shot by a “lookout” at the rear door.  It is believed that it was 4 or 5 burglars who had broken into the building and blew the store’s safe with nitroglycerin.

This still unsolved murder left his wife Mary with two sons, Ronald (age 4) and Vincent (age 2).  For several weeks after the murder, Vincent was heard crying out for his “Papa.”  Vincent’s “Papa” was known for his kindness and generosity, not just to his family and friends, but to everyone he came in contact with.

A fitting memorial was the dream of Officer Beaton’s son Vincent.  In 1993, as a result of his lifetime dedication to the father that was taken from him as a child, a granite memorial was dedicated in Superior’s City Hall to honor all of Superior’s police officers that have been killed in the line of duty.  Vincent had vowed never to rest until such a memorial recognized the commitment of his father.  Just a short year later, Vincent joined his “Papa.”

A great concern of Vincent’s was that an officer should not have to die to be recognized for their work and that an appropriate place be set aside to honor those that are the most deserving.

In 1998 the State Fire and Police Hall of Fame opened within the Old Firehouse and Police Museum in the City of Superior to do just that. Officer Finlay Beaton was the first inductee of the Hall of Fame. This Hall of Fame is a tribute to that two-year old boy who loved his “Papa.”

Robert Potter

Superior Fire Department

One two occasions, Firefighter Potter played a key role in rescuing babies from their burning homes.  The first event occurred November 1st, 1978, when his crew responded to a house fire.  They were the second crew to arrive and were told that an eight-year-old boy may still be in the house.  Firefighter Potter followed the first engine’s hose line up the stairs and told the crew about the boy.  He then went into a bedroom and, knowing not to completely rely on what you’re told, did a very thorough search.  This search included a crib where he found a small baby.  He brought eight-month-old Jennifer to another firefighter on an awaiting ladder.  Firefighter Potter then went back to continue searching for the missing boy.  While doing his search, he found a second crib, which also had a baby in it.  He brought six-month-old Heather to the safety of the ladder as well.  The missing boy was safe, having been found later at a neighbor’s.

Two years later, just before noon on Christmas Eve of 1980, Firefighter Potter’s engine company responded to a house fire.  They encountered a man and a young girl outside.  There was smoke coming from the eves of the house, and he was told that a baby was in a crib upstairs.  Neighbors had already tried to rescue the baby but were quickly pushed out by the heat and smoke.  Potter and his partner pulled a hose line up the stairs to the landing below the second floor where they encountered heavy smoke.  Just as he was about to get his air mask on, he heard the baby’s cries from somewhere upstairs.  Knowing that time was quickly running out, he left his hose line, did not put on his mask, and followed the baby’s cries through the blinding smoke.  He found five-month-old Dominique, then carried her downstairs and outside.  She was taken by ambulance to a local hospital where she recovered fully from her injuries.

Richard Parquette

Bayfield County Sheriff’s Department

A 28-year veteran of law enforcement, having served his last 17 years in Bayfield County, Corporal Parquette received his final call on Tuesday, September 10, 1996.

Corporal Parquette received a call for “vandalism.”  He immediately drove to the scene of the complaint, and was led up a set of stairs by an unknowing girl.  On his way up the stairs, Corporal Parquette was shot 30 times.  His murderer then went back into his apartment and killed himself.  No motive was ever discovered for this brutal act.  Corporal Parquette left behind a widow, Ms. R.L. Parquette, two daughters, Tracey Brewer and Terri Smith, and a stepson, Steven Prevost.

While there were no witnesses to the shooting, many believe he gave his life protecting the young girl, whom was not physically injured in the attack.  His fellow officers all agreed that he would have repeated his actions, even if he knew the outcome.

Mike Johnson and Leonard T. Rouse, Jr.

Superior Fire Department

The night of February 2, 1979, tested the entire fire department to the fullest.  When the first engine pulled up to the “Old Armory” apartment building, flames were coming out of several windows.  At least 22 of the apartments were occupied and it seemed as if no one was outside yet.  Crews evacuated people from the first floor and raised several ladders to rescue people from the other two floors.  Two tenants even climbed down the inside of a ladder from a third floor apartment to escape the heat and smoke.  

A cry for help led Firefighter Leonard Rouse to the back of the apartment building where he got a boost up to the fire escape to look for a man who was reported to be still inside.  Firefighter Rouse entered a broken window on the second floor and climbed through the heat and blinding smoke to make a search of the apartment.  He found the unconscious man and began to bring him over to the window.  Before Firefighter Rouse was able to complete his rescue, his mask ran out of air and he had to leave.  After Firefighter Rouse left, Firefighter Mike Johnson entered through the same window and with great effort was able to get the man outside to awaiting help.  Richard Senn was taken to the hospital and recovered from his burns and smoke inhalation.

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