All Bossier Parish/City first responders – law enforcement officers, firefighters, and emergency medical personnel – are invited to the inaugural “First Responders Appreciation Day” at Cypress Black Bayou on Oct. 22 from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The event will be held at the marina, located at 135 Cypress Park Drive, and will feature a full complimentary lunch and lots of door prizes.
Robert Berry is the executive director of Cypress Black Bayou, and he says this first-time event is a way to show support for first responders.
“From everything that’s gone on this past year, it’s very important that we step up and back our first responders,” said Berry. “It’s about them.”
Berry is joined by Vicky Whitman, Silver Star Smokehouse, Tubbs Hardware, Coburn’s Supply, and Zaxby’s to sponsor the event. Lunch will include a fish fry, BBQ, fries, coleslaw and hush puppies.
Berry also said that when COVID-19 restrictions affected the park, it was the law enforcement officers working security at the park who had to turn people away because of the number of people they could let in. Because of that, the deputies posed an important question to Berry, he noted.
“They asked me, ‘why do we have to restrict the number of people who just want to come out and enjoy themselves (at the park) when we don’t have to restrict the people who are rioting and going against law enforcement and first responders’?” said Berry. “After hearing that, I wanted to do something.”
Vicky is the wife of Bossier City Marshal Jim Whitman.
“He (Marshal Whitman) has to worry about his deputies every day,” she said, especially as they execute warrants. “They just don’t get the respect they deserve, and I don’t people realize just how dangerous their job is… and where their heart is. They have a servant’s heart.”
Berry is hopeful the appreciation day at the park will spark other cities and parishes to step up and show support for those who keep us safe.
“Here in Bossier Parish, we are behind them all the way, and hopefully, other communities will recognize what we are doing here and get behind their first responders and start doing the same thing,” Berry said.