Top cop, deputy, firefighter to be recognized at annual banquet

Published 10:19 am Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Tensions may be high between law enforcement officers and the public nationwide, but a local club in Vicksburg is honoring three local officers for the work they put into their job.

The Vicksburg Homecoming Benevolent Club will host the 32nd Officer of the Year Banquet at 7 p.m. Feb. 17 at the American Legion Post 213, 1618 Main St.

“We just reach out to give these men and women recognition for an outstanding job they do in protecting our community and our homes that we take, that service, for granted,” president Willie L. Glasper Sr. said.

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The club asked Vicksburg Fire Chief Charles Atkins, Vicksburg Police Chief Walter Armstrong and Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace to nominate two officers each for the award. Three officers will be honored, one from each of the three departments.

“So much goes on, on any given night in our community in any given neighborhood and their presence means a lot to us for our safety and our wellbeing,” Glasper said.

Nominees will not know if they have won until they receive a plaque at the banquet. Only club members who help choose the winners will know in advance.

“A lot of folks don’t like law enforcement right now, but all officers are not bad,” Glasper said. “There are good officers.”

There will be a speaker and a full meal served at the banquet. The banquet is open to the public, and tickets are $10. Glasper said it’s not a fundraiser, but simply to give recognition.

“We don’t know how valuable they are until we need them ourselves,” Glasper said.

The VHBC is a nonprofit organization that was established to give assistance and aid to those less fortunate in the community. The club gives financial assistance when they can for certain bills or other needs someone might have.

“We of course screen each case,” Glasper said. “Whatever the need is, we’ll assist.”

Every year the club gives away on average 14 to 22 scholarships to students in the Vicksburg Warren community with money from the club’s treasury and outside contributors.

“We try to do good things in the community and assist those that need,” Glasper said.

In addition to giving money to various projects, the VHBC also gives their time by visiting nursing homes to play bingo and give snacks to the residents.

“For what we do in this community and the reward that I see from the people that are the recipients, it’s priceless,” Glasper said.

Glasper presented the idea of the banquet to the VHBC in 1984 when the club was just 10 years old. He said Vicksburg should be proud of the three top-notch departments located here.

“I’m proud to say I’m from Vicksburg,” Glasper said.