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Killed in the line of duty
Wardens who have given their lives in the line of duty
Life Saving Awards
Given to employees in recognition of their service.
Valor Awards
Given to employees in recognition of their service.
Distinguished Service
Given to employees in recognition of their service.

Conservation Warden Wall of Honor

Einar P. Johnson

Alfred P. Vander Kelen


1898-1928
Researched by Judith Borke,
Wisconsin Conservation Warden Museum

Alfred P. Vander Kelen drowned in Green Bay waters, on November 6, 1928, while doing a conservation warden's routine fishing and duck hunting checks. He was accompanied on his rounds that day by Wallace Grange, the Wisconsin Conservation Department's superintendent of game. They intended to cross Little Sturgeon Bay off Door County to Riley's Point, and left early in the morning in Vander Kelen's boat. At Riley's Point, however, they encountered very rough seas, with breakers dumping water into their boat. Wallace Grange continuously bailed water from the boat while Vander Kelen steered the boat parallel to shore. The breakers got worse, and when two successive big combers broke into the boat, it went under. They managed to right the boat and cling to it in the fierce weather. They tried removing their bulky clothing, with some success. After untangling from dangling decoy lines, Grange started swimming and floating toward shore. Once there, he attracted people at a nearby house, who started out for Vander Kelen, as he still clung to the boat. Halfway there, the rescuers saw Vander Kelen slip from the boat and bob several times. Their boat also was swamping, and they were unable to get to Vander Kelen.

Alfred Vander Kelen, a warden for just one year, was 30 years old at the time, and married to Mary. His name is engraved on the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Memorial on the State Capitol grounds in Madison.

(Source: personal written account of Wallace Grange, dated November 11, 1928. Photo available at the Conservation Warden Museum at Poynette.)

Last revised: Wednesday March 28 2012