Over a year has passed since Joel Wahlenmaier and Javier Bejar were killed in a shootout in Minkler. The peace officers memorial ensures their lives will never be forgotten.
The ceremony served as a reminder of the sacrifice made by local officers every day. The names of Joel Wahlenmaier and Javier Bejar are the latest to be etched into the peace officers memorial.
Hon. Lawrence O'Neill, U.S. District Court Judge said, "They live in our memories and in our gratitude and in our hearts and in our debt."
Two men linked together forever because of a fateful day in Minkler.
"Officer Javier Bejar. Reedley Police Department. End of watch March 1, 2010.
Bejar's widow Miriam sat solemnly next to Javier's parents during the ceremony.
Bejar's sister, Maricela said, "It's pretty emotional still at least for me, to see his name engraved. It's a reminder that we're here because he's no longer with us."
"Deputy Joel B. Wahlenmaier. Fresno County Sheriff's Office."
Wahlenmaier's widow Bev was joined by her children Amy and Austin.
"It's kind of bittersweet the way I look at it," said Eric Schmidt. "We're here to honor everybody but there's always that empty chair."
Wahlenmaier and Bejar were honored through prayer and song.
The families left roses at the peace officers memorial. Javier Bejar And Joel Wahlenmaier were thanked for dedicating their lives to protecting the gift of life.
Hon. Wayne Ellison, Fresno Co. Superior Court Judge said, "And the sacrifices they have made for all of us here and in our community."
Margaret Mims, Fresno County Sheriff said, "Even though they're gone there are men and women willing and ready to take their place."
Which will guarantee Joel Wahlenmaier and Javier Bejar's legacy will live on.
In addition to Javier Bejar and Joel Wahlenmaier, Warden Clarence Brown was also added to the memorial. He passed away in 1959.