POSTED: Wednesday, June 1, 2011 - 9:19pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, June 1, 2011 - 11:28pm
BATON ROUGE, La - — Mayor-President Melvin “Kip” Holden was honored by the Louisiana Emergency Preparedness Association (LEPA) with its Lifetime Achievement Award for his leadership in emergency preparation, response and management.
LEPA, a statewide organization of emergency service personnel, honored Holden at the association’s Awards Banquet held in New Orleans last night.
Holden has led his Mayor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness through nine presidential declarations of emergency since taking office in 2005, including Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Ike and Gustav and the recent Mississippi River flood response.
The Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to an individual to recognize long term excellence in the field of public safety and emergency preparedness. The honoree must have set examples that influenced others to strive for the highest goals. Please see attachment for more information about how Mayor Holden was selected for this award.
Holden said the award has great meaning to him because he has worked closely with the state’s emergency service personnel for more than 20 years to improve the state’s ability to prepare and respond to disasters.
“Our reward for the work so many of us do in emergency planning and response comes in getting through an event without loss of lives or property,” Holden said. “To be honored by our state’s emergency responders is both humbling and deeply appreciated. These are the men and women who leave their own homes and families during emergencies to work to keep their communities safe, and I have great respect for the jobs they do.”
Holden was active in supporting the state’s emergency personnel throughout his career as a state legislator; during his tenure as Mayor-President, all first responders under the Mayor’s Office have achieved the highest national certification in their respective fields.
Mayor Holden’s administration has also developed its own brand of community preparedness, with its “Red Stick Ready” campaign earning recognition from the National League of Cities and FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute as a national best practice in public education.
“We have focused on public education to help build a safer community,” Holden said, “helping everyone from children to senior citizens become more aware and prepared for any type of hazard. It saves lives and property, and ultimately stretches our tax dollars further because our first responders can concentrate on the most serious aspects of emergencies.”
Holden also received national recognition from the White House and Congress in 2005 for his administration’s management of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, when East Baton Rouge Parish received over 200,000 evacuees in one week and stood up local governments for four devastated parishes to help them resume operations.