BUCKHANNON — November 2, 2019 marked twenty years since the passing of the highly-esteemed, former public servant Frederic “Fred” M. Gaudet. Wearing many different hats throughout his career, Gaudet was the recipient of numerous honorable awards.
Born April 17, 1949, right here in Upshur County, West Virginia, Gaudet would lead a life of many successes and left quite the mark in the lives of many during his time as a husband, father, friend, public official and law enforcer.
Prior to his acclaimed career in public service, Gaudet was a member of the 1966 Buckhannon-Upshur High School state championship football team. Before obtaining his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminal Justice and Government from Wesleyan College, Gaudet graduated from the Richmond Bureau of Police Academy in Virginia and the FBI National Academy, where he would begin a dignified and lasting career in criminal justice.
Gaudet served a tenure with the Richmond Police Department in Richmond, Virginia, ascending to the rank of homicide detective before he eventually made his way back home to Upshur County. A true servant to his community, Gaudet was elected to terms of service as Sheriff, Magistrate and County Commissioner. He was actively serving as the Chief of the Buckhannon Police Department when he passed away on November 2, 1999.
Gaudet was acknowledged with many awards and accolades throughout his career of service, such as the “Excellent Police Duty Medal”, “Outstanding Young Man of America Award”, “Commitment to Duty Award” and was even recognized as the “Upshur County Citizen of the Year”. Posthumously, Gaudet was also acknowledged with the “Criminal Justice Partnership Award” by the West Virginia Prosecuting Attorneys’ Association.
Other notable recognitions include the memorial bridge located on U.S. Route 33, east of Buckhannon that was designated “The Sheriff Fred Gaudet Bridge” and the “Webb Grubb Police Service Recognition” that was presented to Gaudet’s family earlier this year, along with a plaque displayed in his honor on the City’s Wall of Blue at the Public Safety Complex.
His son, Brian Gaudet, is honored to follow in his father’s footsteps, as he too, works for Upshur County. “Losing my dad unexpectedly was a difficult time. My son, Dillon, was only two at the time, but he and my dad were very close. My daughter, McKinley, was born the day after my father passed, and in many ways that helped to get us through,” Brian stated. “The outpouring of love and support from the community at the time, and after, has been overwhelming. Many of my father’s friends, like Mike and Linda Hicks, Bill and Sue Hamilton, and Delmas Ware, have also stepped in to try to keep my father’s memory alive for me and my children. Now, working in the Upshur County Courthouse, where my father spent most of his days, there is rarely a day that goes by that someone does not have a funny story or two to tell about my father. We miss him every day, but are thankful that his memory lives on,” Brian expressed.