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Banquet honoring police officers, firefighters of the year postponed

The Vicksburg Homecoming Benevolent Club’s annual Officer/Fire Person of the Year Banquet has been postponed.

“We decided to postpone it because of everything that’s been going on,” club president Willie Glasper said. “Maybe we’ll be able to hold it virtual later in the year. We want to be sure they are recognized for their work, especially with the pandemic and what they have done during this weather we had.”

The Officer/Fire Person of the Year Banquet began 37 years ago and is held the third Wednesday in February.

Glasper said in an interview with The Post in 2019, the idea for the banquet came from a conversation with police officers 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,” he said. “I think we are the only organization that still honors first responders.

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.

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

The VHBC is a nonprofit organization that helps the needy through financial assistance, utility assistance and scholarships.

In February 2020, the honorees included Vicksburg Fire Department EMT Joshua Davies, Mississippi Highway Patrol Trooper Eddie Liggins, Vicksburg Police Officer Sgt. Dewayne Smith and Warren County Sheriff’s Deputy Michael Rainey.

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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