Vicksburg Homecoming Benevolent Club to honor police officers, firefighters

Published 2:45 pm Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Some of Vicksburg’s finest will be honored Wednesday by the Vicksburg Homecoming Benevolent Club at its annual Officer/Fireperson of the Year program at the Vicksburg Event and Business Center, 2321 Washington St.

The program begins at 6 p.m. and is free to the public, although club president Willie Glasper said donations will be accepted for the club’s scholarship program. The program returns after a one-year layoff because of COVID-19.

Glasper said this year’s program will not involve a banquet as it did in previous years.

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“We decided to be cautious,” he said. “Everyone will wear masks and we will have masks available. Instead of a single meal, we will have wrapped snacks and soft drinks.”

For 38 years, the Vicksburg Homecoming Benevolent Club has honored one Vicksburg police officer, a Warren County sheriff’s deputy, a Mississippi Highway Patrol trooper and a Vicksburg firefighter or EMT.

Glasper said in an interview with The Post in 2019, that 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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