Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Speaker Mike Johnson Shows Gratitude to Shreveport First Responders

by BIZ Magazine

By Stacey Tinsley | Bossier Press-Tribune

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson met with a select group of Shreveport first responders not only to thank them for their service but also to conduct a challenge coin ceremony on Monday, April 8, 2024. Prior to acknowledging each first responder who was to receive the challenge coin, Speaker Johnson addressed the room. “I’ve always felt like I missed my calling in some way,” Johnson said. “I should be wearing that uniform standing there with you. This is really meaningful to me. I’ve given out challenge coins to law enforcement and first responders, but never to my home team.”

One of the recipients of the challenge coin ceremony was Deputy Fire Chief Carolyn Henderson, Shreveport’s first female Deputy Fire Chief. “It was awesome to receive the challenge coin from Speaker Johnson. It really reminded me of his father. His father was our first training officer and he had a lot to do with me getting with the fire department and being where I am today. It was a true honor,” said Deputy Fire Chief Carolyn Henderson.

Another recipient of the challenge coin ceremony was Chief Tommy Carpenter, Shreveport’s longest-serving firefighter. “Me and your daddy fought fires together. Back in those days, we rode on the back end and we held onto the bar. I don’t have to tell you, but I’m going to tell everyone else here. Your daddy was one of the finest men that I ever worked with. I never heard him say an ugly word or anything bad about anybody. Pat Johnson was truly a good guy,” said Chief Tommy Carpenter.

Following the challenge coin ceremony, Johnson held a roundtable discussion with local law enforcement and officials. During his opening remarks at the roundtable discussion, Speaker Johnson said, “I just want to have a discussion with y’all or maybe a Q&A on whatever is on your heart. It’s kind of a rare opportunity to be able to sit with all of the chiefs around the table. So I don’t take that for granted.”

“There’s no greater fan, there has never been a greater supporter of the first responder community than me in the speaker’s chair, I promise you, because of where I come from. We want to be of full support to you,” Johnson added.

Below is a list of recipients of the challenge coin ceremony:

  • Captain Mark Allen, retired Lt. Col., Army National Guard.
  • Captain Calvin Baker, Fire Academy Training Officer, Corporal in the US Army, Operation Iraqi Freedom.
  • Captain Reginald Davis, Serves as 1st Lt. in the Army National Guard.
  • Engineer Freddie Duncan, Serves as Master Sergeant, US Marine Corps Reserves.
  • Deputy Fire Chief Carolyn Henderson, Shreveport’s first female Deputy Fire Chief.
  • Engineer Oliver Hollins, Sergeant First Class, Army Reserves.
  • Assistant to the Fire Chief Brandon Lee, Retired First Sergeant, Army National Guard.
  • Command Chaplain Michael Perser, Battalion Chief, Retired.
  • Chief of Safety Skip Pinkston.
  • Fire Chief Clarence Reece Jr., Youngest serving metro fire chief in the country.
  • Chief Tommy Carpenter, Shreveport’s longest-serving firefighter.

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