SLIDELL, LA — When the City of Slidell commemorates Patriot Day on Tuesday, September 11, the program will include an unanticipated addition: recognition for the many first responders and support crews that worked together prior to, during and following Hurricane Isaac to bring Slidell back from the natural disaster that many have dubbed, “the never ending storm.”
The ceremony will honor the Slidell Police Department, St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office, St. Tammany Fire Protection District 1, the Louisiana National Guard, City of Slidell employees, St. Tammany Parish employees, Charter Media, CLECO Power, LLC and the many linemen and tree cutters that the utility company brought in to assist with the recovery efforts. Also to be honored are the community’s medical service providers including Acadian Ambulance, Slidell Memorial Hospital and Ochsner Hospital.
“This truly was one of the most extraordinary displays of teamwork I’ve ever had the privilege to witness,” said Mayor Drennan. “It was a coordinated effort between the city and the parish, first responders and support crews, working together to serve our citizens. It’s the people who were out on the streets in the wind and the rain, rescuing people, removing fallen trees and manning pump stations. It’s the employees who cooked to feed the weary crews, those who took care of administrative requirements and those who answered the phones and worked to keep you informed.”
“They were away from their own families for many days, working extremely long days and nights, sleeping on cots and air mattresses,” said Drennan. “They put the public’s needs before their own and the Patriot Day Ceremony will offer us an opportunity to thank them for their hard work and dedication.”
Mayor Drennan is quick to credit the families of these crews as well. “We haven’t lost sight of the fact that for every person we had in the field and in the Emergency Operations Centers, there were families at home, without their loved ones, weathering the storm,” he said. “These people are heroes, too, and we want to thank them for lending us their family members during such a volatile time.”
Lastly, Mayor Drennan credited the state and federal government for their swift involvement in relief efforts. “The response and support from these agencies has been remarkable.”
The Patriot Day ceremony will begin at 6:00 p.m. in the Slidell Municipal Auditorium and will include speeches by Mayor Drennan, Police Chief Smith and St. Tammany Fire District No. 1 Chief Larry Hess. The ceremony will also include presentation of photos documenting previous Patriot Day events, a moment of silence and the ringing of the bells. Commemorative 9/11 Memorial Bells are available at the Slidell City Council Office for a donation of $3. The bells will also be available at the ceremony.
The nationally-acclaimed U.S. Navy Band Country Current will follow with a concert from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. and admission is free.
“I encourage everyone to join me in recognizing the significance of Patriot Day as well as taking the opportunity to thank all of those who worked during Isaac to keep our city safe. They’ve certainly earned it,” said Drennan.