PASCACK VALLEY, N.J. -- Tamiko Beutel of Westwood beamed with pride as she and her five daughters stood at Madison Square Garden's center court during a break in the New York Knicks game Friday night and received a tribute on behalf of her late husband, Bergen County Sheriff's Lt. Brian Beutel.
Sheriff's officers and family members led the Garden cheers as Beutel accepted a Sweetwater Clifton City Spirit Award honoring local heroes who have made a significant difference in the lives of others.
She was also given a Knicks #15 jersey with "Beutel" on the back and a donation of $2,000 -- the source of which remained a "secret" until the ceremony.
"Every year the 'Battle of the Blue' money went toward the Tomorrow's Childrens Fund," daughter Vanessa Beutel told reporter Rebecca Harlow during a courtside interview on the MSG Network. "So it felt right that the money should go back to them."
Various North Jersey police agencies were participating in the Battle of the Blue to benefit the fund when Beautel collapsed at FDU's Rothman Center in Hackensack on March 18. He died on the way to Hackensack University Medical Center.Tributes quickly mounted in the days that followed, including one in which an executive with the TCF called Beutel "a true angel."
"The fund had been very close to his heart for so long," Vanessa Beutel said during the TV interview. "He had the very best relationship with them and the people that worked there.
"We do plan on, as a family, participating in the Battle of the Blue," she added. "We can't play basketball, but we'll be helping out with raising the money for the event."
Beutel "was one of the biggest Knicks fans ever," his wife told Daily Voice on Thursday. "This would be such a proud moment for him."
"I'm very excited to see my family and to accept the award for him," Vanessa Beutel added. "I just wish he was here to accept it himself."
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A DAUGHTER WRITES: My father was the most hardworking man I have ever met. His work ethic and diligence inspired me to be the young woman that I am today. READ MORE….
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