Gehlen student receives honor
'Spirit of Gehlen Courage Award'
By KATIE LEFEBVRE, Globe staff reporter
June 3, 2004
LE MARS - An eighth grader at Gehlen Catholic in Le Mars received an award on
May 27 in honor of the courage that he has displayed to his fellow classmates
and everyone around him.
Beau Campbell received the first ever "Spirit of Gehlen Courage
Award" from Steve Shanks, the seventh grade through 12th grade principal at
Gehlen. Beau is the son of Eileen and Dean Campbell.
Beau Campbell was diagnosed with leukemia in 1999 when he was in fourth
grade. He then had a bone marrow transplant. His body is still rejecting the
bone so he has many physical complications from that process. As a result, he
goes to Rochester once a month to see the doctor. Eileen explained that this is
an ongoing, daily thing that they have to deal with.
"He has been able to stay with his class the last four years," said
Eileen. "We have been really lucky. His class has been really supportive.
That is why this group is really a special group of kids. They are a big part of
getting him to where he is now."
He was presented the award during the junior high awards ceremony in St.
Joseph's Church in Le Mars. The awards ceremony took place after the eighth
grade promotion Mass that the seventh graders helped plan.
According to Shanks, "Beau is a young man who exemplifies the values of
Peter Gehlen (Gehlen's namesake). As a pioneer, Gehlen worked tirelessly to
establish the Catholic Church in Le Mars. Over 125 year later, Beau is a pioneer
who has spent the past few years battling his horrendous illness."
The award that Beau received reads, "'The Spirit of Gehlen Courage
Award' is presented to Beau Campbell on May 27, 2004, in recognition of
courageous spirit to overcome any obstacle."
"This year has been especially tough on Beau," said Shanks.
"He has spent many days at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., returning
home tired and exhausted, with his hope still intact. Beau's courageous spirit
is an inspiration to us all. He is teaching us all how to deal with tough times.
We are very fortunate to have him at our school."
Before Shanks presented the award to Beau, he commented that Beau is a model
for everyone on how to keep going through hard times. The idea for the award
came about because people knew Beau was struggling. The school wanted to create
an award to let him know that he is a special individual and that he inspires
people with this positive attitude.
"He would think he doesn't deserve it," said Eileen. "He would
do what anybody else would do if they were in this situation. He doesn't see
himself doing anything special. He doesn't like the attention or expect it. He
is frustrated with his disease, but he has always done everything we have asked
him to do."
Shanks said, reasons to give the award were "one to reward the student
for being so courageous and to recognize that kind of courage because it might
help other kids have that kind of courage."
"I am just proud," said Eileen. "It is just amazing for him to
be here today. I feel so blessed."
Beau noted that he feels awesome and happy about receiving the award. He
never thought he would get an award like this.
"He has taught us a lot," said Katie Feuerstein, a fellow
classmate. "Seeing one of our friends go through something like that was a
big eye opener to us. He deserves everything he gets. He has been through so
On May 26, Beau received an autographed football from the Super Bowl XXXVIII
Champions, New England Patriots, from his classmates. Feuerstein presented the
football to Beau, and he was speechless.
"Beau is a big football fan," added Eileen on Beau's behalf.
"We are so appreciative of everything his classmates and Gehlen have done.
This is just one more example of what wonderful things Gehlen has done to show
their support to Beau during these difficult times. We just cannot thank them
Feuerstein knew that Beau liked football so she decided to get the football
signed by all the players. Her family has a friend who plays for the Patriots,
so she gave him the ball for the players to sign.
"I just wanted to do something nice for him because I didn't want him
thinking that we were forgetting him," said Feuerstein. "He means so
much to our class, and we miss him whenever he is gone to Rochester."