Top local MHP, law enforcement officers, firefighters to be honored

Published 9:00 pm Monday, February 19, 2018

Vicksburg and Warren County’s top law enforcement officers, firefighters and state troopers with the Mississippi Highway Patrol will be honored Wednesday when the Vicksburg Homecoming Benevolent Club hosts its 34th annual officer of the year banquet.

The banquet is 7 p.m. at American Legion Post 213, 1618 Main St. Admission is $10.

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The VHBC is a nonprofit organization that helps the needy through financial assistance, utility assistance and scholarships, but club president Willie Glasper said the banquet is not a fundraiser.

The admission is used to help cover the costs of the event.

“We’re going to be there to honor the officers,” he said.

Glasper said the idea for the banquet came from a conversation with police officers more than 30 years ago about the lack of community support and recognition for law enforcement.

“They were just talking about (how) they never get recognized for what the department does, and from that conversation, I took it to the club and asked them if we could recognize the officers of the year. I think we are the only organization that still honors first responders.

“These are the people who get out and serve and protect us, and they get very little recognition,” Glasper said.

The first year, he said, the organization honored police officers. The next year, sheriff’s deputies were included, “And then later we went to the fire department.”

In 2017, state troopers — including the Mississippi Highway Patrol SWAT team — were recognized.

The fire department nominees, Glasper said, include emergency medical workers.

“In fact, some of the EMTs have received the award,” he said. “They’re (the nominees) in with what the fire department gives us; if it’s EMTs or firefighters, we go with that.”

Glasper said the nominations are determined by the chiefs and department heads, who select two officers or firefighters.

“What they look at is the work they (the officers) have performed during the year, and submit the bios and training. If there’s some specifics that need to be recognized, then we address those.

“We have had some who have been nominated for the awards, and then there are some who have done something outstanding, like save a life, and not nominated for the award, and we’ve given them an award anyway.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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