2017 LEPA Award Winners

Congratulations to our 2017 LEPA Award Winners!

Leadership Award

John Thibodeaux

Mr. Thibodeaux assisted with operations of the EOC after the August flooding. After securing his own home and family, he and his son operated a boat rescue operation during the flood along Highway 16. He volunteered with the OEP office and assisted the Darlington Cemetery recovery and operations. He donated time and supplies unselfishly. He secured donations of material for road repairs, moved vault burial supplied tarps and assisted with the process of disinterred. Mr. Thibodeaux is a Volunteer Fireman and knows the challenges that the Parish faces with minimal help and employees.

Dedication Awards

Majors Ed and Carla Binnix, Salvation Army Corps Officers

Major Ed and Carla Binnix of the Salvation Army of Northwest Louisiana have demonstrated through steadfast service the highest degree of humanitarian disaster relief in two enormous historic Louisiana Flood Response efforts. In March 2016, these leaders in non-profit communities responding to the momentous 600-year flood that impacted Bossier Parish and surrounding parish in a efficient and immediate matter. There excellent organization skills and leadership was noted by local, state and FEMA officials as a model top follow. No one realized that in less than six months these same Salvation Army dedicated officers would be called to respond to Louisiana’s 1000-year flood event in Livingston Parish. Major Ed Binnix was deployed from Shreveport and placed in a senior Unified Command role to run not only initial response Salvation Army relief in flooded South, LA but based on his observed excellent organization and leadership skills become a focus point of follow-on task force relief operations from regional and national non-profit teams. Simply stated, Major Ed and Carla Binnix are a disaster response dedicated team not only serving their communities but a treasure to the victims of disaster in Louisiana and our region. Their dedication as non-profit senior leaders are a true reflection of their calling of “Doing the Most Good.”

Rebecca Nichols - Logistics & Administrative Coordinator

In every organization there is the “hub” of excellent and dedication core member that make a successful disaster response organizations excel. In the Salvation Army of NW Louisiana, Ms. Rebecca “Becky” Nichols is the mark of distinction for dedication, caring spirit, can do attitude and unselfishness that has become the “go to person” and solution person” in local, regional and now state emergencies. Emergency managers from local, regional and even FEMA noted in her brilliant response to the NW LA 600-year flood of March 2016 that “Becky” was the unstoppable non-profit responder. This support of thousands of flooded or impacted families was non-stop and even continues today in the long term recovery of these local citizens (eight months after the floods). This ability to muster and organize resources in NW LA largest flood would be even more tested, when the Salvation Army Unified Command Task Force deployed her to the 1000-year flood disaster in Livingston Parish. Becky Nichols took her unique can-do attitude and heart based loving response spirit and helped coordinate superior and effective logistics to the unprecedented needs of this impacted region. Her dedication as non-profit disaster logistics coordinator is a true reflection of her Salvation Army calling of “Doing the Most Good.”

Anne Blanchard – Assumption Parish

Anne Blanchard has been a Planner for the Assumption Parish Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness for 8 years. Her skills have been put to use with the events that have occurred over that time with Assumption Parish. Some of those events have included the Mantle Oil Well Blow Out in 2010, Potential Flooding in 2011, Tornado in 2016 and let's not forget the 4.5 years in Bayour Corne starting in 2012 dealing with the Sinkhole. Anne has proven her wealth with the daily activities and documentation of tons of data that has pour in due to these events. And lastly when things get busy, Anne was the face of the organization, in informing, as well as comforting Citizens that were going through these traumatic events.

Robby Miller – Tangipahoa Parish President

This nomination is due to the actions taken by Parish President Miller during the multiple devastating events during his first year in office. On Jan. 11, 2016, when newly-sworn-in Tangipahoa Parish President Robby Miller promised a standing-room only crowd at his Inauguration that he was going to “hit the ground running,” no truer words have ever been spoken. Less than two months later, the new Parish President was on the ground helping crews restore power and open roads following a weather event that spawned tornado activity, Tangipahoa Parish President Robby Miller drafted his first Presidential declaration in response to what would ultimately be referred to as a 500 year flood that impacted 5,600 homes and prompted more than 1,500 water rescues. He had indeed “hit the ground running.” The first-year Parish President would find himself moving from his personal transition into public life to transitioning his citizens from disaster to recovery mode. Miller and his team took to the streets, going door-to-door in a community work day to help the hardest hit areas begin the work of mucking out homes and preparing for debris clean up. He also took to the airwaves, getting his message out in local, state, and even national media to let the world know that Tangipahoa Parish had been dealt a tough challenge but that we would be back, stronger than ever. As residents neared the completion of their recovery from the March floods, the parish was once again dealt a devastating blow in August, when the “Great Flood,” a 1000-year flood event seeped into Tangipahoa Parish. This time, the impact would be twice as bad in Tangipahoa where more than 10,100 homes were impacted and approximately 2,500 people would require water rescues. Please join me in honoring President Miller.

Lacy Landrum - Chief Administrative Officer Tangipahoa Parish

This nomination is due to the actions taken by Chief Administrative Officer Lacy Landrum during the August 2016 Flood. As the devastating rain continued to fall and the waters continued to rise on August 22, 2016 and as Tangipahoa parish first responders started rescuing over 2500 residents via boats and high water vehicles. Tangipahoa Parish Emergency Operations Center called Lacy Landrum from the City of Hammond to request assistance in opening a shelter . Without hesitation, Lacy agreed to allow us to bring these residents to the City of Hammond’s McKinney Recreation facility. As the buses continued bring residents to this make shift shelter by the hundreds, Lacy decided that she would be the coordinator for the evacuees’ shelter, feeding and wellbeing. Over the next 45 days, Lacy saw the transition of hundreds of people in and out of her facility from not only Tangipahoa Parish but also surrounding parishes as she worked 12-16 hours a day to ensure order at the shelter. She assisted American Red Cross personnel and helped coordinate meals from various vendors and non-profit groups, coordinated the case management for the residents of the shelter and even lining up transportation for the evacuees to the DSAP site to register. She did all this while managing over 300 employees for the city.

Fire Chief Brian Drury - Livingston Parish

Chief Brian has served as the Fire Chief of Livingston Parish Fire Protection District 2 for seventeen years. With his dedication and hard work, he led his department to a Class 4 rating and taken his department from volunteer to a combination department. He has served as President of the Livingston Parish Fire Chief’s Association for twelve years. He works tirelessly to build the entire parish up and provide support to every department. In every situation, he shows up, gives his all, and is always willing to lend support to others.

Pam Roussel – GOHSEP

Over the course of the last eleven years, Pam Roussel effectively translated her personal initiative and vision into capabilities and accomplishments for the GOHSEP Region Coordinator cadre. She used her experience and deep understanding of various technical and complex disciplines of emergency preparedness to chart a successful path for cooperation between St. John the Baptist, St. Charles, St. James, Assumption, Terrebonne, and Lafourche parish homeland security efforts. She intuitively grasps the nuances of conducting emergency response activities in an irregular environment. During her tenure, Region 3 parishes have sustained impacts from hurricanes including Katrina, Gustav, and Isaac; seasonal flooding; offshore platform fires including the Deepwater Horizon/BP Oil spill, numerous maritime incidents in the Mississippi River, Bayou Lafourche, and Gulf Coast Intracoastal Waterway; and landside industrial accidents at chemical plants and refineries among others. By facilitating discussions and scheduling variety of training events, Pam ensured her constituent parishes were well prepared to timely and effectively respond to the previous incidents. Her purposeful approach to her profession, combined with both her experience, and comprehensive knowledge of the emergency preparedness community, make her the standard that all emergency preparedness officials should emulate.

Sophia Matthews – Darlington C.O.G.I.C. Cemetery Board

Ms. Matthews from St. Helena Parish assisted with the Recovery & Identifying of Disinterred at Darling Cemetery after the August flood. Ms. Matthews was present during the recovery and identifying stages with hands on help. She collected information from the deceased families to help identify the disinterred caskets and remains. Ms. Matthews worked with the funeral director and was always available with assistance when called on.

Amy Dawson, Melton Gaspard, John Callahan, Neal Fudge – GOHSEP

During the evening shift on the night of August 15, 2017, messages through social media and emails were received by Amy Dawson, Melton Gaspard and John Callahan stating that a family was unable to evacuate their home and a small child in that family was in dire need of medication. After gathering all of the pertinent information on the child and his medical needs, Amy, Melton and John conferred with Dr. Jimmy Guidry who was able to prescribe the appropriate medication with a local pharmacy. Melton and John immediately went to the pharmacy and purchased the prescription. Upon returning with the medication, the team worked closely with Maj Neal Fudge and the Louisiana National Guard to get aviation assets coordinated in order to deliver the medication to the family. Within a few short hours, assets were coordinated and the medication was picked up at GOHSEP and delivered by air and watercraft to the child's family. Their dedication to duty and genuine care were evident that night by the actions of these individuals. The Michot family, in their darkest time and dire need were the benefactors of these highly dedicated emergency managers. These individuals made that mission their top priority in order to ensure that this family did not suffer any more loss than they already had endured. The choice they made to affect the outcome certainly was the difference between life and death for The Family.

National Weather Service Lake Charles Office

The National Weather Service Lake Charles Office has been active in our Parish promoting weather training and safety to both public & governmental organizations. They readily provide support for public awareness as well as responder training. They have provided critical weather forecast for not only weather events but also when working a hazmat incident whereby we have been able to keep our on scene responders safe. Most recently, the four (4) tornados that visited Rapides Parish. Their attention and constant updates saved lives. Without them we are truly at the mercy of mother nature .

Founders Award

Rick Webre – Ascension Parish

Rick has transformed LEPA and Ascension Parish emergency preparedness. He has long served as a distinguished LEPA Board Member and as the Director of Emergency Preparedness & Homeland Security for Ascension Parish. He is a distinguished military veteran. He "righted the ship" in emergency management for Ascension Parish, and was recently recognized as LEPA Distinguished Life Member after serving with honor on the LEPA Board for xxx years. Rick is a leader - it is evident from the first moment you speak with him.

Valor Awards

Deputy Mika Miguez – Jefferson Davis Parish Sheriff Department

I would like to nominate Deputy Mika Miguez for the LEPA award. Deputy Miguez displayed actions above and beyond the call of duty during a tragic event. On August 23, 2015, Senior Trooper Steven Vincent was tragically shot in the line of duty by a deranged gunman on a traffic stop. Deputy Miguez was working a shift in dispatch on the day of the shooting. The initial 911 call came into the Jefferson Davis parish sheriff’s department 911 center. although the incident occurred just inside the Calcasieu parish line, it would have been easy to simply transfer the call and pass the responsibility to someone else, but that is not the kind of thing Deputy Miguez would do! Without hesitation she obtained vital information on the location and situation at the scene. Deputy Miguez remained calm as she notified all the proper agencies and medical services to respond. Deputy Miguez remained on the phone with a witness at the scene who gave her updated information on the trooper who was seriously wounded and the suspect who was attempting to disarm the wounded trooper. Deputy Miguez was advised by the caller that several passerby’s had stopped and were struggling with the suspect in an effort to prevent further harm to Trooper Vincent. Deputy Miguez's fast thinking and calm demeanor were essential to the suspect being taken into custody. Deputy Miguez advised the caller to take Trooper Vincent's handcuffs from his belt and secure the suspect until further law enforcement arrives. The passerbys and the caller were able to detain the suspect and prevent further loss of life. Deputy Miguez then advised the caller on giving Trooper Vincent first aid at the scene. Having supervised Deputy Miguez for several years, her action were no less than what i would have expected from a professional law enforcement officer that she is.

Officer James Thomas - Baton Rouge Police Department

On December 1, Officer Thomas heard shots being fired near North 23rd Street while he was patrolling the area and drove toward the sound of the gunfire. When he approached the location of the shooting, Dispatch alerted Thomas that someone had been shot, which prompted him to search and find an elderly woman, who had been shot in the thigh; not only had she sustained the gunshot wound but her leg was broken from the bullet. Thomas immediately applied a tourniquet to stop the bleeding, and the victim was brought to the hospital by EMS and survived the injury thanks to Thomas’ quick work.

Daniel Wesley

A 17-year-old Central High senior is in the hospital with a list of painful injuries — a pair of bullet wounds, a broken arm and a broken leg , this after being shot and run over twice Sunday evening while trying to save a woman fatally shot on Essen Lane. Daniel Wesley, a trained emergency medical responder who's currently studying for his EMT certification, spotted 30-year-old April Peck lying in the roadway while driving home from a shopping trip at the Mall of Louisiana, said his mother, Kathy Wesley. The son of a retired East Baton Rouge EMT, Wesley pulled to the side of the road, grabbed his father's medic bag and rushed to the woman, who'd been shot and tossed from her car minutes earlier by her 48-year-old boyfriend, While applying pressure to the victims wound, the boyfriend came back and aimed his car at Daniel. He was hit throwing him against the ambulance. Then he was shot. “ If you help her, I am going to kill you”. Daniel was run over and shot again. This heroic act was accomplished by a 17 year old emergency responder while he was off duty. He answered the call for help on the roadside and unselfishly entered the scene and saved the life of the person in need. He was not required to do so by his employment of position in the workforce. He assisted due to his own personal drive to assist someone in need and to save their life. Please join me in honoring Daniel today. A hero for this valor award.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Sandy Davis, GOHSEP

2017 LEPA President's Award

Chris Guilbeaux