Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Johnson: Efforts to recognize a vital sector of our community

by BIZ Magazine

Coming off the thrilling weekend of a spectacular Air Show at Barksdale Air Force Base, we are heading straight into April, which is the Month of the Military Child. While this is something recognized nationally, we have made a concerted effort in Bossier to recognize our military-connected children. The Bossier Chamber and the Bossier Parish School system partnered years ago to begin Purple Up Day, where we celebrate our military children and the sacrifices they make along with their parents. 

Bossier Schools have gone a step further, earning the Louisiana Purple Star School Distinction at 12 of their schools, on the way earning Purple Star School Distinction in all Bossier Parish Schools. 

Our business community has joined in on the initiative as well, helping to sponsor Purple Up shirts and along the way. 

But we aren’t done recognizing our military in April. Military May is a month to honor our military nationwide. Different days within the month recognize the courage and resilience of different parts of the military community, including Military Spouse Appreciation Day, Armed Forces Day, and Memorial Day. 

Our businesses will offer discounts, perhaps above and beyond what they offer the rest of the year. Some within our community will graciously thank a service member as they see them around town, or even pay for their meal. Many will mourn those they have lost during military service through the years. 

But one thing will remain true – this Northwest Louisiana community will absolutely continue to stand by our military members. Not only do we recognize that Barksdale Air Force Base is the No. 1 economic driver in our area – and one of the largest ones in our state – but we also have every branch of the military stationed in Bossier/Shreveport in some capacity, except for the Coast Guard. 

I think military appreciation hits a little differently here, as well it should. And I commend our region for being so supportive of our military.

And even within all of that, the Bossier Chamber will be recognizing other heroes among us in May – our Salute to Community Heroes event. You all know someone who does extremely important work that helps this community, and usually without an ounce of recognition for it. For some, they do this heroic work at their daily jobs – first responders, military, teachers and healthcare workers come to mind immediately. And then there are others who are doing great work through their volunteer efforts – starting movements, founding organizations, giving of their time and dollars, and overall just working to make a difference. 

In honor of these months of appreciation, won’t you consider honoring a military child, spouse or service member or look for a community hero among you and just simply say Thank You, through your words or through service to them.

We can all be mindful of the sacrifices of others around us who make our cities, parishes, state and country a better place to live, work and play. We thank you all for your sacrifices for our benefit. 

Lisa Johnson is president & CEO of the Bossier Chamber of Commerce

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