SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The 7th annual North Louisiana Heroes Ball will honor first responders, while raising scholarship money for children of first responders. This year, part of the proceeds will also benefit The Gingerbread House, a child advocacy organization which helps abused children.

The ball is a party which includes the public and those who protect and serve.

“These are the men and women who you see on those emergency calls, who come to your house to put the fire out, who help you when you’re distressed,” said Shreveport police officer Marcus Hines, who is the founder of the Heroes Ball.

Hines said he realized the need for a fun event celebrating first responders, more than a decade ago.

“When Sgt. Tim Prunty was murdered, I attended the funeral as an honor guard member and one thing that struck me was how many people attended. What I realized was that for many years. having been on the honor guard, we only seemingly got together in times of tragedy,” Hines recalled.

So, he created an event to promote positive interaction with the community and to encourage families of fallen first responders.

“We want to memorialize the men and women we lost,” said Clarence Reese, who was recently selected by Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins to become fire chief.

Reese, a Heroes Ball board member, said this year’s event holds special meaning for him.

“Our brother Leonard Coney passed from COVID at the beginning of the year and then we have Ralph Parker, III, who died of cancer,” Reese said. “Anytime you get to honor your brothers and sisters, who you fought with, alongside with, it’s just special.”

The event is also a fundraiser. Two children of local first responders will be presented with college scholarships this year.

“Let’s raise the awareness of what we do. Let’s raise some money and let’s have a great time,” Hines said.

Come out and enjoy this event,” Reese encouraged. “And have the best time possible with people you usually see during emergencies.

The gala event takes place Saturday, April 30th from 6:00 p.m. to midnight at Sam’s Town Hotel and Casino, 315 Clyde Fant Parkway in downtown Shreveport. The event features dinner, dancing and a silent auction. KTAL NBC 6 anchors Dan and Jacque Jovic will serve as emcees for the evening.

Tickets are $100 per person. You can purchase them on the Heroes Ball website.