I COULD SEE IT WAS COLONEL FUHR CALLING AND I KNEW IT had to be something important. Saturday evening phone calls from him are not usually good news.
As Colonel Fuhr proceeded to describe to me the events of that afternoon involving the rescue of two hikers stranded on Mt. Olympus with the UHP helicopter, I began to fear the worst. I felt a slight sense of relief when I learned the helicopter had not crashed, but my relief was only momentary. Colonel Fuhr ended his report with the bad news that Trooper Aaron Beesley, the tactical flight officer on the mission, was down with an unknown medical problem.
A few minutes later, I received a second call; this one from Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder. He described the situation as dire and suggested I get there as quickly as possible. He advised Trooper Beesley had fallen some distance. While on my way to Salt Lake, Sheriff Winder called again advising me that Trooper Beesley had not survived the fall. My worst fears were now realized. Like everyone who received this news, I was stunned and sickened.
A short time later I arrived at the home of Trooper Beesley>s family. Several members of the UHP administration, his wife Kristie, and some of his family members, greeted me. I expressed my condolences and sympathy to each one. I found comfort and strength in their tremendous courage and faith. Trooper Beesley was indeed blessed with a strong, wonderful family.
I cannot adequately describe the feeling of looking into the eyes of a person who has just lost a loved one. You most likely have experienced something similar and know what I mean. It is a difficult experience, and one you never want to have again. However, you know deep down you most likely will.
In the days following Trooper Beesley’s passing, I witnessed many marvelous acts of courage, kindness and love. I cannot even begin to name those who stepped up to answer the call to serve their fellow-man and his family in their time of need. Everyone, including Beesley’s immediate family, the UHP administration, and the public safety community within and without Utah, offered support, assistance, and their means to ensure every detail and need was taken care of. I sincerely thank you all for everything you did to help.
Trooper Beesley’s family was awestruck by the outpouring of concern, and grateful for the love and support they felt. While the entire state and community mourned the loss of a valiant public servant, people everywhere demonstrated their appreciation and gratitude for his life and service. Blue ribbons, United States flags, and citizens of all ages lined the procession route to honor one of our own that made the ultimate sacrifice.
An inscription on the Utah Law Enforcement memorial where Trooper Beesley’s name will be added reads, All give some, and some give all. Trooper Aaron Beesley gave all in the service of his fellowmen. Let us always remember him and his family, along with the many others who have likewise sacrificed, as we carry on with the public safety mission.