Hall of Fame Inductees July 16 1998 – Superior, WI

Tom Champaigne & Richard Klugow

Superior Police Department

On April 29, 1990, Officer Rick Klugow and three other officers were dispatched to a call in central Superior.  They were told a man was walking around claiming to be “cop hunting.”  Officer Klugow spotted the suspect and called for Sergeant Tom Champaigne.  Having seen the suspect wielding a knife, it was decided that they would enter the home the suspect had gone into and arrest him.

The officers knocked on the suspect’s door.  Suddenly the door burst open and the suspect was facing them holding a butcher’s knife.  Efforts to get the suspect to surrender the weapon failed and the man charged the officers.  

During the struggle, officers Champaigne and Klugow were both stabbed several times.  The man was eventually subdued by the five police officers and arrested.  The butcher’s knife was left imbedded in Officer Champaigne’s leg.  During the struggle, the officers fought for their lives.  While there were five officers involved, two were forced to accept severe and painful injuries so that the others would not, and most likely saved lives, including the life of the suspect.

The suspect was arrested, but the damage had been done.  The injury ultimately ended the career of one of the finest community conscious officers the City of Superior has ever known.  Sergeant Champaigne left a legacy to generations of children through his work in the Police Liaison Bureau.

Officer Klugow’s physical injuries mended well enough to be able to return to work.  He has since been appointed to a number of special duties, including detective, ballistics officer, and eventually Sergeant.  Those who know Rick know him as someone who never quits, and welcomes a challenge with tremendous desire.

In the words of one fellow officer, “Rick never found any hill too tall to climb … it didn’t surprise me at all that he came back and accomplished even more after the setback.”

Bert Revels

Milwaukee and Madison Police Departments

Bert Revels started as a patrolman with the Milwaukee Police Department on November 30, 1959.  While on patrol on Christmas evening, 1965, Officer Revels observed a man standing on the steps of a local tavern.  The man held a threatening shotgun in his hands.  Officer Revels reacted by drawing his service revolver and ordering the man to drop his weapon.  Instead of surrendering, the man opened fire and shot Officer Revels, 42 shotgun pellets penetrating his body.  Officer Revels lay wounded in the street as the menacing gunman approached him.  Although being in position to return fire on the gunman, Officer Revels held back due to several spectators being in the line of fire.  When all of the innocent citizens were safely out of the way, Officer Revels returned fire and fatally wounded the gunman.

Witnesses to the incident said that Officer Revels saved countless lives while he lay bleeding in the street, refusing to shoot, while people were in harms way that Christmas night.

Bert Revels took leave from police work in the mid 60’s.  He missed police work, and was hired once again as a police officer, this time with the Madison Police Department in 1977.  In the words of fellow officer Timothy Hahn, “Bert still ran on calls at the age of 61 …  He was in better physical shape then most guys in their 20’s.  I’d go through any door with him as my backup.”

Sergeant Bert Revels recently retired from the Madison Police Department at the age of 61.

Eugene Gutsch

Chippewa County Sheriff’s Department

On August 28, 1993, Deputy Eugene Gutsch responded to a call on North Street in Cornell.  Dispatch reported that a man was threatening to kill his two children, ages two and four.  When Deputy Gutsch arrived, he could see the suspect on his front steps holding a knife to the throat of his two-year-old son.

The suspect screamed at Deputy Gutsch and the other officers that he would kill the child unless he was able to speak with his wife and the police leave the area.  Attempts at negotiations only agitated the suspect.  Finally, officers convinced the suspect to release his two-year-old son, but then he placed his knife to the throat of his four-year-old daughter.  When the suspect began poking the girl’s neck with the blade, officers drew their weapons and demanded that he release the girl.  

The suspect then retreated into a bedroom with the girl and closed the door.  The wife of the suspect was now brought in to assist with negotiations.  As the two talked through the door, officers could hear the little girl screaming and crying.  The suspect then moved back into the hallway to talk more directly with his estranged wife.

Deputy Gutsch, seeing the suspect was being distracted by his glasses sliding down his face while his little girl was struggling in his arms and crying to use the bathroom, took the opportunity to strike the suspect’s hands hard enough to disarm him.  The ensuing struggle resulted in the arrest of the suspect and the children were returned safely to their mother.  There is little doubt that the actions of Deputy Gutsch and his fellow officers saved the lives of the two children.

Kim Nessel, Wayne Klett & David Okas

Eau Claire Fire Department

January 23, 1995, the Eau Claire Fire Department was dispatched to a structure fire on 1st Avenue.  Lieutenant Kim Nessel, Firefighter David Okas, and Firefighter Wayne Klett of Engine 2 arrived first to the scene.  Fire and smoke were clearly visible in the four-unit, two-story apartment building.

 A woman met Lt. Nessel at the sidewalk and told him that her 1-year-old baby was trapped in the first floor bedroom and could only be gotten by the back door.  Trying to get in the back of the building, Lt. Nessel was met with heavy fire and smoke making in impossible to advance.  The crew then positioned in front of the building and made forcible entry through the front door.  Lt. Nessel made a search of a first floor bedroom and found the baby in his crib.

With the ceiling falling down upon them, and the temperature rising, Lt. Nessel found the doors had closed, trapping him and the baby in the bedroom.  Firefighters Okas and Klett quickly assisted in the rescue by forcing the doors back open and directing Lt. Nessel and the baby out of the room.  At the moment the crew and baby exited the bedroom, much of the first floor flashed over and engulfed them.  The crew spilled out onto the front porch, their turnout clothing was smoking and their face shields were blackened from the heat.  Lt. Nessel protected Baby Nicholas until handing him over to Engineer Bill Klee, who performed CPR on him until the Rescue Company could take over and transport him to the hospital.

After reassembline, the Engine 2 crew reentered the building to continue the search for other possible victims.  None were in the building.

Sadly, little Nicholas Adank later passed away, but he had been given the greatest chance of living because of the heroic efforts of Firefighters Nessel, Okas, and Klett.

Dennis Edwards

Superior Fire Department

Firefighter Dennis Edwards is inducted into the Hall of Fame for his part in the rescues of Susan Wicklund and her children, Timothy, 7, Robert, 4, and Daniel, 3.

On December 12, 1975, the Superior Fire Department was dispatched to a structure fire.  Neighbors attempted to rescue the family, but were pushed back by the smoke and heat.  Firefighter Edwards was on Engine 2, which was the first fire engine on scene, and made initial attack and rescues.

As Engine 2 members, Captain Aker and Firefighter Johnson attacked the fire and searched for family members downstairs, Firefighter Edwards saw Mrs. Wicklund in an upstairs window.  He laddered the building to rescue her.  Arriving at the window, he found Mrs. Wicklund had collapsed from the smoke and heat.  

He also discovered she had a child in each arm.  Firefighter Edwards separated the children from Mrs. Wicklund and carried her down the ladder.  Firefighter Edwards then went back up the ladder, and on two more trips, rescued the two children.

It had been discovered that there should be a third child, so Firefighter Edwards made a fourth trip up the ladder and found Captain Kildahl making a search of the room.  Firefighter Edwards saw another little figure in the room and directed Captain Kildahl to it.  This was the third child!  Captain Kildahl brought the boy over to Firefighter Edwards, who carried him down the ladder to safety.

All four members of the family were unconscious.  On scene firefighters and Douglas County Ambulance personnel gave artificial respiration to the family.  The Wicklunds were transported to Miller Dwan Hospital, where they were all treated for severe burns and smoke inhalation, but all survived this terrible ordeal.

Hero Stories