Congratulations to our 2015 LEPA Award Winners!
Jane Morgan has a storied career in public service. Serving more than 33 years in the American Red Cross. She has received numerous national and international awards along with four major publications focusing on emergency management. In 1980 Jan began her career as the Director of Health Education in the Southeast Chapter of the American Red Cross. She led the creation and implementation of the Red Cross Disaster Mental Health Services program that successfully integrated all disciplines of mental health professionals and disciplines of mental health professionals and now has over 5000 members nationwide. She has held various leadership positions across the country to include President at the National Voluntary Organizations active in Disasters. In 2008, she returned , She returned to Louisiana as the Disaster office and developed a strong working relationship with GOHSEP. Her support and leadership were key to the mass care response of the 2008 Hurricanes Gustav and Ike, the 2011 River flooding and 2012 Hurricane Issac.
Chief Achord serves as the Deputy Fire Chief for Fire Protection District No.1 . During the past year he accepted the newly created Deputy Fire chief position. Since beginning in the job he has worked to improve the Fire Protections District’s efficiency and organization. In addition to learning his new duties he has actively participated District emergency first responder program at West Feliciana High School. This program is a fledging program which is meant to introduce students to pre-hospital emergency care as well as increase the number of medically trained citizens in a rural community. He has also worked with the Fire District’s medical director to expand the Fire District’s standard of care from Basic Life Support to Advanced Life Support. He has put in long hours to accomplish these tasks which are over and above his normal duties.
Deputy Fire Chief Glen Ellis III has been a member of the St. Bernard Parish Fire Department since 1978. He has been protecting the citizens of St. Bernard for 37 years. During his career Chief Ellis has been involved in many life saving duties. His ingenuity , professionalism and fortitude were displayed during the many rescues preformed if the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Chief Ellis has taken on many projects and additional duties during the Parish’s Post Katrina recovery period. During the BP Oil Spill operations he represented the St. Bernard Fire Department at the unified command post in St. Bernard. Had it not been for Chief Ellis stepping up to take on some of the many tasks that had to be completed to keep the department operating.
Chief Hines serves as the Director of Public Education for Fire Protection District No. 1. In the past year she has shown vision and leadership by expanding the role and scope of the fire District’s fire and life safety education programs to include drier safety and drug abuse awareness. She created a mock drunk driving fatality demonstration for the 11th and 12th grade West Feliciana High School students this past year. The program has been adopted by the school will now be an annual event. Chief Hines is an active participant in the drug and alcohol awareness council and serves as the primary instructor for the fire district’s emergency medical responder program at the west Feliciana high school.
Collins has been an integral part of Region 9 Emergency Management. He consistently goes above and beyond to assist the directors with whatever needs may arise. Collins spent a large portion of his time at the Tangipahoa Parish Office of Homeland Security of Emergency Preparedness while the director was deployed overseas in order to assist the Deputy in day to day operations. Collins has been invaluable to the organization and his actions reflect great credit upon him, the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness and Emergency Management as a profession.
Tasha is an employee of GOHSEP and works with several parishes around the state to manage their Security grants and funding. Tasha’s dedication to her job and her commitment to the betterment of public safety is obvious to everyone she works with. For her professionalism, hard work, positive attitude and dedication to her job Tasha deserves to be recognized. She has proved to be an asset to the entities she assists, to Homeland Security including public safety. We would not be able to do our jobs properly without her encouragement and guidance.
Chief Wood serves as Fire Chief for an 85 member combination fire department. In the past year Chief Wood has demonstrated leadership and vision in working on community risk reduction initiatives despite numerous projects and obligations. These initiatives include the establishment of a fire prevention inspection program and the implementation of an emergency medical responder course in the local high school. The fire inspection programs primary goal is to prevent fires and other emergencies before they happen. The emergency medical responder course allows high school students to obtain real world job skills before finishing high school. It also introduces some students to pre hospital emergency care that might otherwise not recognize it as a fulfilling career choice. In both cases Chief Wood has been both an advocate and participant in ensuring the programs are established and effective.
On Tuesday December 23, 2015 just two days before Christmas, an F1 Tornado passed through an area just east of the town of Amite City causing major damage to approximately 15 homes. At the epicenter of the destruction was the house of Chief Bruce Cutrer and his wife Mary. Despite the ongoing rainy weather and the destruction of his own property , and being in his responsibility . Chief Cutrer went door to door checking on his neighbors and coordinating efforts of his firefighters to place tarps on residents roofs and coordinating with the parish president and the Homeland Security office to get roads cleared and accessible. Chief Cutrer put the devastation to his own property aside to concentrate on the efforts to care for those in his community first. His actions are in keeping with the finest traditions of a public servant and reflect great credit upon himself, Tangipahoa Parish Fire District #1 and the Amite community.
From December 8, 2014 to December 12, 2014 the Lake Charles Police Department handled 4 separate armed robberies involving individuals. In two of these cases, the victims were kidnapped at gun point. On Friday December 12, 2014 Police Officer Christopher Baudin was in the drive through of a local bank when he observed a Lincoln Continental traveling North on 2nd avenue at an extremely high rate of speed. As the Lincoln made the turn and accelerated toward him, Officer Baudin observed an individual later identified as Timothy Hill., jump out the rear passenger seat. Hill hit the ground and began rolling. He got up and started running, holding a black pistol in his right hand. Office Baudin began to chase Hill in his marked unit, advising Hill over his PA system to stop running and drop his weapon. Hill refused to stop and officer Baudin continued the pursuit across a major four lane road, a vacant lot and the parking lot of an apartment complex. Once in the apartment complex, Officer Baudin was forced to exit his marked unti and continue the pursuit on foot. Hill hid and forced OfficerBaudin to give loud verbal commands to show his hands and keep his hands up. After numerous commands, Office Baudin finally gor Hill to raise his hands and lay face down on the ground. Officer Baudin kept Hill on the ground at gunpoint until additional back up units arrived. By taking quick action , chasing, locating and holding Hill at gun point until assistance could arrive, Officer Baudin solved a 3 day armed robbery spree that struck Lake Charles.
Deputy Kelli Matherne, who was with the Assumption Parish Sheriff’s Office just under two years, was conducting a routine business check on Lee Drive. Matherne said she was leaving a business when she noticed a light near the bayou and drove over to investigate. She saw a truck turned over on its side. “My first thought was how many people were in it,” she said. “It was a four-door truck, and I was thinking there might be kids in there, how many people might be in there, how much water’s in the vehicle already, if they’re conscious. I just hopped in.” After hearing the driver trying to kick out the windshield, Matherne used her flashlight — the first thing she could grab — to help break the glass. Deputy Bryan Guillot said he was about five miles away when he heard Matherne report the crash. He got to the scene as soon as he could and assisted her in breaking the windshield.“ Once I got in the water with her, I realized how soft the mud was at the bottom, and my only thought was helping her get the man or any other occupants out before the truck sank further,” Guillot said. “The water was coming into the windshield at a pretty good rate.” Seargent Guillot said in nearly 10 years in law enforcement, almost five with the Sheriff’s Office, he’s never participated in such a rescue. He praised Deputy Matherne’s quick response. It is Deputy Matherene’s and Seargent Guillot’s quick thinking that saved a life and continues to save lives in Assumption Parish.