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Patriot Awards to honor first responders on Sept. 11

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Since 2004, the Bossier Chamber of Commerce has been recognizing the courage, valor and honor of local first responders at the annual Patriot Awards.
This year, the Chamber will continue to honor those first responders who go above and beyond the call of duty. Patriot Awards finalists and the 2018 winners will be announced at the Bossier Chamber’s 2018 Patriot Awards held on Sept. 11 at 11:30 a.m. at the Bossier Civic Center.
The purpose of this event is to honor local first responders and thank them for all they do for the community. The event first started as a festival to honor the brave in 2002, but it was transformed into an awards ceremony in 2004.
“Since the tragedy of 9/11 and the passing of the Patriot Act, it is important for communities to continue to recognize their first responders – our silent heroes,” said Lisa Johnson, president of the Bossier Chamber of Commerce.
Guest speakers for the event include Dr. Phillip Demond Fletcher, founder and director of CoHO, and founder of Humanity Matters, as well as, Mark Cooper, an emergency management expert.
Fletcher will be discussing military leadership and courageous responsibility at this year’s awards. He was enlisted into the Active Army in August 2000 and commissioned as an officer in September 2002.  Fletcher received his Bachelor’s Degree in Ethnic Studies from University of California, Riverside, his Masters of Theology and Apologetics from Liberty University, and his doctorate of Organizational Leadership from Regent University.
This decorated former Army officer is currently the founder of two non-profit organizations and the author of, “The Excellence of God: Essays in Theology and Doxology.” He hosts a weekly podcast on topics like leadership, nonprofits, religion and philosophy. In the past, he has given a Tedx Talk at the University of Central Arkansas.
In addition to Dr. Fletcher, we will also host Mark Cooper as a guest speaker for the Patriot Awards. Cooper, formerly of Bossier City, has served in many emergency management roles. From historic floods to catastrophic hurricanes, Cooper has aided in many different disaster scenarios including hurricanes Gustav and Ike in 2008 along with the BP oil spill in 2010. He previously served as head of Louisiana’s disaster management agency; worked in California in response to Los Angeles riots, earthquakes and wildfires; and most recently was the senior director of global emergency management for Wal-Mart.
Cooper also serves on the United Nations ARISE Executive Board for global resiliency and served on the FEMA National Advisory Council to the Administrator. He is a graduate of the Executive Leadership Program at the U.S. Naval Post Graduate School/Center for Homeland Security and Defense.