Suamico board backs renaming boat landing after slain DNR warden
By Kevin Boneske
SUAMICO – The board room was packed Monday, Nov. 4, when the village board unanimously approved a resolution urging the Brown County Board of Supervisors to rename a county boat landing in Suamico after a slain game warden.
The resolution notes Neil La Fave of Suamico was a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources game technician with special conservation warden credentials when he was shot and killed Sept. 24, 1971, by a violator in the Sensiba Wildlife Area, located across the street from the Suamico Boat Landing.
La Fave, a nine-year DNR veteran, had gone to the game preserve to post signs that afternoon, but failed to return home in the evening of his 32nd birthday.
His daughter, Nicki DeGreef, who was two years old when he was killed, was one of three people to speak before the board in support of renaming the boat landing.
“He enjoyed working as a warden, hunting and farming,” she said. “We are so pleased to have this time before the village board to get the recognition by renaming the Suamico Boat Landing to La Fave Landing, near Sensiba Wildlife (Area) where his life was taken. His death is part of Suamico’s history.”
DNR Warden Darren Kuhn, who has been stationed in the county for nearly 22 years, also spoke in favor of renaming the boat landing after La Fave.
“In the history of the warden service, we’ve lost seven conservation wardens in the line of duty, Neil La Fave being one of them,” Kuhn said. “Being assigned to Brown County, one of the first places that the veteran warden staff took me was Sensiba Wildlife Area and pointed out the historical significance of that area as it relates to warden service.”
He said the DNR’s chief conservation warden, Todd Schaller, has already submitted a letter in favor of the name change.
“I feel it’s my obligation as a warden stationed in Brown County, and having known the family for years, that I speak on the record in support of that resolution and take it to the next level and change the name of the Suamico Boat Landing,” Kuhn said.
County Supervisor Tom Lund, who represents most of the Village of Suamico, said it is his honor to support the resolution as a member of the county board.
“I think support from the village board will really help in putting this forward,” Lund said.
Lund said the resolution will go before the county’s Education and Recreation Committee later this month.
“Tom, it’s in your hands, man,” said Trustee Dan Roddan. “Get it done.”
Village Administrator Alex Kaker said the village will be sending a letter of support to the county, which has the authority to change the name.
County Board Chairman Patrick Moynihan Jr. said the full county board could give final approval to the name change at its Dec. 18 meeting.