Salute the Badge Awards Banquet

Bossier, La. - For the past year NBC 6 has brought you the stories of local first responders when they're not in uniform and Thursday night we honored the people profiled in our "Salute The Badge" segments.
The first responders we've reported on from across the Arklatex came to an award banquet at the Horseshoe River Dome to receive not just an award but sincere recognition and appreciation for their public service.
When Officer Thomas LaValley with the Shreveport Police Department was killed in the line of duty in 2015 it fueled the idea at NBC 6 to provide an important link between first responders and the community.
"Salute the Badge" started as a weekly segment to give viewers an inside look at the lives of men and women in uniform when they're not on duty. 
"It gives us as first responders the opportunity to show the community that we are real people and we can connect with them," said Cpl. Les Munn, Texarkana Arkansas Police Department.
From help during flooding, to DARE officers and basketball coaches "Salute the Badge" aims to humanize first responders.
"There's a lot of us that don't just serve the community while we're at work but there's a lot of us that tend to do that when we're out of uniform," said Dep. Kyle Martin, Desoto Parish Sheriff's Office.
Telling stories of what drives these men and women and maybe breaking down negative perceptions along the way. 
"Show that they are a different side of them. That they're not always out here on the streets or on a fire truck. They're helping people in other ways than they're job," said Sgt. Buck Wilkins, Bossier Parish Sheriff Office.
 Police, fire and EMT brought their families to enjoy a banquet and receive awards in their honor. 
"It's nice to know we are appreciated because we are not in it for the recognition," said Lt. Stephanie White, Desoto Parish Sheriff's Office.
With the key note speaker Kerry Sanders from NBC News talking about his reports during the Boston bombing and wars overseas and how journalism connects with first responders.  
"The local news is the connective tissue that tells us what law enforcement is doing and why do we care because we want to live in a community that's a safe community and these are the people out there protecting us to give us a safe community," said Kerry Sanders, NBC News correspondent.
Along with the banquet and recognition NBC 6 is donating 50 trauma kits from First Chance to officers and fire fighters out in the field. These kits can save their lives but the makers of the kits say officers use them to save citizens lives instead. 

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