Paying tribute to a fallen Valley officer
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Corporal Javier Bejar died in February 2010 after a violent search warrant in Minkler. A Fresno County sheriff's deputy was also killed during the confrontation. A sign honoring Bejar has been placed on Reed Avenue at Highway 180.
Javier Bejar's widow and parents unveiled the memorial sign that will greet motorists on Reed Avenue.
It's a fitting stretch near Highway 180 where family members say Bejar traveled every day to get to and from work. It's also the place his life was tragically cut short.
"This is a great day in the memory of Corporal Javier Bejar, it kind of puts a cap on everything we could do for him and of course, we'll never forget," Reedley Police Chief Joe Garza said. "We'll never forget the sacrifice he's made for the community and this county."
Bejar's family members still get emotional about their loss. But they feel a deep sense of gratitude for the permanent reminder of Bejar's service to the community he loved.
Bejar's sister, Maricela said, "We're doing ok, it's difficult these times, knowing when it happened it brings it all back and the memory and knowing that we're here because Javier is not here."
Bejar's brother, Orlando said, "We feel honored that the community still remembers our brother after two years and that my brother's sacrifice has not been in vain."
Bejar's loved ones received certificates from the Fresno County Board of Supervisors officially recognizing that portion of highway named in his honor.
Fresno County Supervisor Debbie Poochigian said, "And for the nieces and nephews, for years to come, this is Javier's highway and that's how they should remember it every time you drive down this highway."
Several who spoke reminded the crowd of mostly law enforcement about Bejar's strong sense of character. He was rushing to help Fresno County sheriff's deputies, when, he too, lost his life.
Orlando said, "I want them to know that Javier died knowing this. Javier gave himself without any selfish motivations, he did it because he loved the profession."
Reedley Police Chaplain Dale Freeman said, "And we thank him for making it a little safer to travel this road by eliminating the problem at the end of the road."
Several miles of Highway 168 were dedicated to another law enforcement officer killed during the same shootout. Last October a stretch of the highway near Prather was named in honor of Joel Wahlenmaier.
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