03/02/12 Signs designating the Trooper Jason E. Beal Memorial Highway were unveiled on February 29, on SR 14 at the Whitley/Kosciusko County line. Almost 20 Indiana State Police (ISP) troopers, along with local police enforcement, joined Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) representatives to honor the late ISP Trooper Jason E. Beal.
On January 12, 2000, Trooper Beal was patrolling in southeastern Kosciusko County. He stopped near midnight along SR 14 to assist a wrecker operator, who was pulling a car out of a ditch. As the two men worked alongside the icy road, the driver of a passing vehicle lost control of the car, striking the wrecker and the state trooper. Trooper Beal later died from his injuries. He left behind a widow, Emily, and a son, Cody, who was born five months after Trooper Beal’s death.
INDOT Fort Wayne District Deputy Commissioner Bob Alderman opened the unveiling with a few words, saying he hopes these signs serve as a constant reminder to travelers of the danger ISP troopers place themselves in every day. “The tremendous sacrifice this young state police trooper made is a significant thing,” he said.
Jim Strong, ISP District Commander at the Bremen post, said that Trooper Beal was the second ISP officer from the Bremen post to be killed in the line of duty. “I understand Cody wants to be a state trooper someday,” he said. “You have about 10 years to go, young man. I can’t wait to see you in uniform. We will be holding a place for you at the Bremen post.” According to Strong, Trooper Beal was a caring, enthusiastic trooper. “He’s missed by all of us. He was a great guy. I want you to know that,” he said to Cody Beal.
Former State Representative William Ruppel said attendees were on hand to honor Trooper Beal for doing what troopers do every day: putting themselves in harm’s way to help other people. During the 2010 General Assembly, because Trooper Beal gave his life in defense of others, former Rep. Ruppel authored House Concurrent Resolution 18 to rename a section of SR 14 in Trooper Beal’s honor.
“Thank you for making these signs possible,” said Emily Beal-Nelis. “And to all of you state troopers standing here, thank you for your support. Jason loved his job. It was part of who he was – helping the community, helping the state. When you take this job, you make a pledge. You know it’s a possibility that you may make the ultimate sacrifice. Jason made the ultimate sacrifice. He will be remembered.”
“We’ve made it through. Cody will remember today always,” she added.