The Bossier Chamber of Commerce’s annual Patriot Awards took on new meaning this year as the chamber recognized those who went above and beyond to help others during the COVID-19 pandemic — Patriots of the Pandemic.
The event, presented by sponsor Willis-Knighton Health System, was held at 11 a.m. on Friday Sept. 25 at Margaritaville Resort Casino and featured 28 outstanding individuals and five teams who have been nominated by their peers, supervisors or community members for the selfless service they have provided the community during the pandemic.
All nominations were judged by a blind panel of community members. Three of the nominees were awarded the coveted eagle trophy and named top 2020 Patriots of the Pandemic.
The top three 2020 Patriots of the Pandemic awards went to:
Clarrissa Stephens, Outreach Minister at Northpoint Community Church:
Through her leadership and care for others, more than 180,000 meals were served to Bossier Parish children during the pandemic.
“I just want to say hearing all that you guys have done in this room today I was thinking ‘Why am I in this room?’. But I think I am in this room because I am a part of a community of people like you. When this all happened we could have all said whatever and made up a whole lot of excuses. But in Shreveport and Bossier we stay on mission and we do what’s needed. And so thank you guys for being who you are,” said Stephens.
LSU Health Shreveport COVID-19 Surveillance Strike Team: This team was comprised of nurses, doctors, LPNs, medical students, nursing students, EMTs and Paramedics, Information Technology Support personnel and undergraduate students who worked in more than 44 nursing homes in Northwest Louisiana. With their dedication to prevent a mass spread of the virus, this team was able to protect and defend senior citizens in local nursing homes. Because of their quick response and hard work many lives were saved.
“It’s an honor to accept this award on behalf of our strike teams. Literally hundreds of nurses, students, EMTs and paramedics who have worked with us for the past five months when we started on April 24th. The really difficult thing is that (paraphrasing Winston Churchill) This is not the beginning of the end. It might the end of the beginning. We got a long way’s to go,” said member of the LSU Health Shreveport COVID-19 Surveillance Strike Team.
Bob Thames, North Louisiana and East Texas Brand Ambassador for Great Raft Brewing: Thames used his innovation to help service industry workers affected by the pandemic. In total, he was able to raise about $20,000 for local service staff helping them survive these difficult times.
“Thank you, thank you. It’s such a blessing to have a son that does these things. It means a whole lot. Thank you for the community,” said Bob Thames mother, Mrs. Thames.
Keynote speaker at the event was Dr. Martha Whyte, Regional Medical Director for the Office of Public Health Region 7.
This year’s nominees were:
- Anna Sistrunk, Willis-Knighton
- Barksdale Air Force Base Medical Control Center
- Barksdale’s Aircrew Flight Equipment COVID-19 Mask Sewing Task Force
- Barksdale Air Force Base, Public Health
- Katy Wilkens, RN, CHRISTUS Shreveport-Bossier Health System
- Greg Beech, RN, Willis-Knighton
- Bitsy Cliburn, Haughton High School
- Bob Thames, Great Raft Brewing
- Clarrissa Stephens, Northpoint Community Church
- Jenny Gulett, Central Park Elementary
- Karla Horton, Bossier Parish Schools
- Ruth Hill, Princeton Elementary
- Carlos Pettus, Holy Angels
- Charles “Chas” Dickson, Barksdale Federal Credit Union
- Clint McCommon, Fairfield Studios
- LSU Health Shreveport COVID-19 Surveillance Strike Team
- Edie Brown, Red River Sanitors
- Frances Lee, Holy Angels
- Lt Col Patricia Herbelin, 307th Medical Squadron
- Holy Angels Isolation Unit
- Dr. Jaya McSharma, Hospitalist Physician and Vlogger
- LaDean Taylor, Willis-Knighton
- Pastor Larry and Donna Otwell, Shreveport-Bossier Rescue Mission
- Veronica Rambo, Shreveport Fire Dept. Communications
- Richard Carter, Eastwood Baptist Church
- Wade Lovelace, Love Shreveport-Bossier
- Fr. Felix Okey Alaribe, CHRISTUS Shreveport-Bossier Health System
- Jessy Gillespie, Sew You Care
- Brian McCall, Central Freight Line