BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - It's one thing to protect and serve, but what about finding a homeless man a home? It's just one of the many stories from those who wear the badge and go beyond it.
With a prayer from former Baton Rouge Police Chief Jeff Leduff, the inaugural Beyond the Badge banquet kicked off at Boudreaux's Tuesday, March 21.
Linda Hull is the founder of the non-profit and came up with the idea over coffee one day two years ago. "Our mission is to educate the public about ordinary law enforcement officers doing extraordinary acts of kindness in their community," said Hull.
LSU's head football coach, Ed Orgeron, served as the guest speaker. "It's an honor. We really appreciate it. The LSU family and our football family appreciate all the law enforcement agencies and all the things they do for our families, put their lives on the line every day, and we're very much appreciative of them," said Orgeron.
"We need this now more than ever, so the interactions with law enforcement and the general public aren't always the ones you see on the side of the highway when someone is getting a ticket," said Governor John Bel Edwards.
Gov. Edwards attended the event for a time and even presented roses to the woman who saved a BRPD officer who was getting beaten on the side of the road, Vickie Williams-Tillman.
Eleven officers and deputies were given Heart of Law Enforcement awards, presented by Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser. There were law enforcement officials who were thanked for going above and beyond by finding a home for a man who had recently become homeless, as well as many who responded after the March and August floods last year, including a husband and wife, and those who came up with Christmas and Thanksgiving projects to help the not so fortunate. Officers were also recognized for acts such as buying breakfast and even buying a new bike for a little boy and clothes for a baby to keep the infant warm in the frigid temperatures.
"It truly makes you feel good as a chief that your officers are going above and beyond for this community," said BRPD Chief Carl Dabadie.
The event wasn't just for BRPD though. Law enforcement officers from all over Louisiana were honored Tuesday, even fallen EBRSO's Sgt. Shawn Anderson. Attendees wore black mourning ribbons over their badges and a special prayer was said in his honor.
"We also have a heavy heart, Heavenly Father. Our heart is heavy for the loss of another brother in our community. We have a brother by the name of Shawn Anderson who now sits in a place you have prepared," said Leduff in a prayer.
And to all the men and women who put on a uniform day in and day out, Coach Orgeron said, "Thank you. Thank you for all you do and the hard work is not unnoticed. We're able to sleep at night, go to sleep safe and sound with our families and very much appreciative of them."
To nominate officers or deputies for next year's event, click here.