39th Officer of the Year banquet set for Wednesday

Published 8:58 am Monday, February 13, 2023

The Vicksburg Homecoming Benevolent Club will honor the area’s top law enforcement officers and firefighter/paramedics on Wednesday at its 39th Officer of the Year Banquet at the Vicksburg Event and Business Center, 2321 Washington St.

The event begins at 6 p.m. and costs $15 per ticket. The banquet will honor one Vicksburg police officer, a Warren County sheriff’s deputy, a Vicksburg firefighter/paramedic and one Mississippi Highway Patrol trooper.

All proceeds will go to support the program and the club’s scholarship fund.

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The banquet was not held in 2021 out of concern for COVID-19 and resumed in 2022.

“We had 37 and 38 (years) combined (in 2022),” club president Willie Glasper said.

The Officer/Fire Person of the Year Banquet is held on 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 following 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.

“We hope the people turn out,” Glasper said. “The members of the club respect the first responders and believe they should be recognized.”

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

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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