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Fire victim identified

The identification of a 71-year old Kewaunee man killed in a Friday fire concluded what was a busy weekend for the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department. Firefighters from three departments responded to the fully engulfed home in the town of Franklin just after 1 a.m. Friday. After the fire was put out, fire investigators discovered the body of Stephen Voelker just after 11:30 a.m.  Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says there is still more work to be done.

Friday afternoon, deputies were involved in the search for 37-year-old Shamus Kimball of Green Bay, who ran from authorities during a traffic stop. Kimball was found around midnight and will now face additional charges after giving deputies false information during the traffic stop.



It is said that the true character of a person is not visible until they are tested through a challenging experience. I suppose the same can be said for a community as you really don’t appreciate the people and support that is there just under the surface until it is called upon.

             This past Friday, we had two incidents of very different natures which brought forth the quality of our community here in Kewaunee County. The first was a tragic house fire in which a resident of our county lost their life. Just as in all calls for service, our law enforcement officers, along with our fire services responded to the call in an attempt to mitigate the loss of life or the damage of property. We take these men and women for granted too often assuming they will be there when the call for help goes out, but it is when those from outside our community are witness to their actions that we are made aware of the true quality of these responders. In this case the family made a special effort to thank those who responded and shared how impressed they were with how everyone worked together so seamlessly in a common goal to not only extinguish the fire, but more importantly the care in which those at the scene showed in the recovery of their loved one’s remains. Although they don’t ask for it, those men and women in bunker gear have our deepest respect and gratitude. In addition to those agencies, there was also the support of our community.

               The majority of these men and women were out in the frigid temperatures through the night battling the fire, and it was almost magical how warm food and drink made its way to them through those early morning hours just as it has appeared at so many incident scenes throughout the years, and throughout the county. That’s just how it works here in Kewaunee County.

              Later that same day, one of my Deputies was conducting what should have been just another traffic stop in a continued effort to keep our roads safe. On this traffic stop however, the passenger of the vehicle who it would be discovered was wanted by the Department of Corrections, fled the vehicle, initiating a multi- agency search through the fields, woods, and even partially frozen rivers. The extent to which our law enforcement officers from various agencies came to together to work as one is something I am used to seeing on a daily basis, but during incidents such as this, it really stands out. What was just as amazing was the level to which our community assisted us. Once we made the residents of the immediate area aware of what was happening, they sprung into action keeping a watchful eye out for the suspect, and eventually it was information from the community which led to the apprehension of the individual. This person, who was from a much larger community with a great deal more resources, most likely assumed he would not be caught out here. I have no doubt this person is continuing to question how he wound up in our little jail. Well, that’s just how it works here in Kewaunee County.

             In both of these incidents, the work of our Emergency Responders made the difference, but our work would have been made much more difficult without the support and direct interaction of our community. Thank you!



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