Cleveland Chamber hosts First Responder Appreciation Luncheon

First responders from several agencies across Liberty County attended the First Responder Appreciation Luncheon hosted by the Greater Cleveland Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, Nov. 2.

The Greater Cleveland Chamber of Commerce held a First Responder Appreciation Luncheon on Nov. 2 at the Cleveland Civic Center to honor and express gratitude to the courageous men and women who routinely put their lives on the line to protect and serve their communities across Liberty County.

The appreciation event welcomed numerous law enforcement agencies, firefighters, paramedics, and more who serve Liberty County day in and day out. This event saw participation from various local officials including Liberty County District Attorney Jennifer Bergman, Sheriff Bobby Rader and Cleveland Police Chief Darrel Broussard, all of whom were the guest speakers.

“Each agency in this county has been inundated with new cases and new issues that everyone is facing. There hasn’t been a drastic increase in staff, from law enforcement to fire, but you have handled this influx of population and cases better than any other county in the country. You have put your nose down and you have done what needed to be done, and so we commend you for that. You’re working hard, you work together,” said DA Bergman. “I see all of you coordinating your efforts to help keep our community and our people and our families safe, and we appreciate that. There is no greater place to live and work than Liberty County, Texas.”

Even though he himself is a first responder – serving as a firefighter and the elected Liberty County Pct. 6 constable, Zack Harkness volunteered during the First Responder Appreciation Luncheon. He kept the ice flowing as people picked up drinks for their meals.

On behalf of her staff at the DA’s office, she thanked all the first responders in attendance.

“We follow the evidence without fear or favor. We make charges based on the evidence before us, and we follow the evidence and the law wherever it may go. And so I want you to remember that as you go through the next couple of months, the next couple of years, as we continue with the growth that we’re seeing, that you know that the Liberty County DA’s office stands behind you. We will help you. We are there for you and we appreciate you more than you will ever, ever know,” Bergman said.

Rader and Broussard each spoke about the bravery that first responders show in the face of danger, running into a potentially deadly encounter when others are running away.

“First responders are aware of the challenges they face, and they take the job anyway. Still, they sacrifice their own safety. They sacrifice their family time, and they sacrifice their personal time,” Rader said, adding, “Bravery is a choice – a choice not very many people make. First responders go into every situation with bravery, professionalism, and dedication.”

The United States averages 240 million 911 calls a year through extreme heat, rain, sleet, and snow, according to statistics Rader provided during his speech.

Echoing Rader’s comments about the challenges that first responders face, Chief Broussard pointed to recent mass shooting situations in communities across America that would have proven more deadly if not for the actions of first responders who stepped up and eliminated the threats.

“I think that each of you here today would boldly go forward to attack a threat, and I thank you for that,” Broussard said.

The luncheon also included awards presented to local first responders. See photos of the awards below, as well as recognition of the new Chamber members.

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Before creating Bluebonnet News in 2018, Vanesa Brashier was a community editor for the Houston Chronicle/Houston Community Newspapers. During part of her 12 years at the newspapers, she was assigned as the digital editor and managing editor for the Humble Observer, Kingwood Observer, East Montgomery County Observer and the Lake Houston Observer, and the editor of the Dayton News, Cleveland Advocate and Eastex Advocate. Over the years, she has earned more than two dozen writing awards, including Journalist of the Year.


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