81st IRF Grand Parade Grand Marshals chosen - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

81st IRF Grand Parade Grand Marshals chosen

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The 81st International Rice Festival President Suzy Webb has chosen to honor all first responders, and in doing so, she has selected Crowley Chief of Police Jimmy Broussard, Crowley Fire Chief Jody Viator and Acadia Parish Sheriff K.P. Gibson as the Grand Parade Grand Marshals for this year's festival.

Crowley Chief of Police Jimmy Broussard

Broussard's life has been one of service. Beginning at a young age, he has served in music ministry for many Catholic and Protestant churches, not only in Crowley but throughout Acadiana.

Born to the late Allen and Gayle Broussard, Jimmy's parents were tragically killed by a drunk driver in 1969, leaving him an only child without a mom and dad. Jimmy was raised by his paternal grandparents, who provided him with the old fashioned morals and values that he still upholds today. The tragedy to his parents has been a long-standing banner against drunk driving that he still holds to this day.

Jimmy worked for many years for the Catholic church, including the Diocese of Lafayette and St. Anthony Church and St. Edmund School in Eunice, before pursuing other avenues.

Jimmy began his career in law enforcement as a communications officer at the Acadia Parish Sheriff Department under then-Sheriff Kenneth Goss. In 2000, he joined the reserve force of the Crowley Police Department as chaplain, along with being chaplain to the sheriff's department and Louisiana State Police Troop I). In 2003, he joined the full-time force of Crowley Police Department under Chief K.P. Gibson. 

Jimmy rose through the ranks of the Crowley Police Department, going from patrolman all the way to lieutenant. He served as DARE Officer for many years, juvenile officer, investigator, and was a member of the Louisiana Attorney General's Task Force on Crimes Against Children. Jimmy served on a number of boards, dealing with youth and adults, and even after leaving the department in 2012 to pursue other avenues, Jimmy was still called upon frequently for his wisdom and knowledge, especially dealing with youth.

In 2016, Jimmy returned to the Crowley Police Department, but this time, as the first (at least that we can discover) officer from the department to be elected its chief. A month and a half after being sworn in, the historic flood of 2016 became the first challenge of his administration. The officers and administration rose and exceeded the challenge with no deaths occurring during the flooding. 

Broussard is married to the former Lynne Millet, and they are the proud parents of two daughters, Jordan Rose (married to Joshua Conner) and Megan Claire. They are also grandparents to a blue-eyed angel in heaven, Cole Anthony Conner.

Crowley Fire Chief Jody Viator 

Born in Abbeville in 1960, Viator is the son of the late L.J. and Sue Delcambre Viator. He graduated from Abbeville High in 1978.

He moved to Crowley in 1985. In 1989, he began his career in firefighting. Entering the Crowley Fire Department in 1989, he rose through the ranks and was promoted to captain in 1995. In 2005, he became Crowley Fire Chief. He continues his education and training through the LSU Fire Emergency Training Institute.

Jody is a member of Local 1442 Crowley Professional Firefighters. He is also a member of the Professional Firefighters of Louisiana (PFFA) and the International Association of Firefighters.

In 2004, he began as a volunteer for the Rice Festival and has been a member of the Board of Rice Festival Directors since 2015.

Jody is married to the former Roxie Istre. They have one daughter, Kira Viator Weber. 

Jody has played bass guitar in his daughter's band, Kira Viator & Bayou Beat since 1993. He began playing the guitar when he was seven-years-old. During his younger years, he played guitar in the family's band with his father, L.J., and his sister, Ann Bell.

Besides playing music, Jody's other hobbies include hunting and fishing. 

Chief Viator's commitment to helping those in need grew out of his own concern that someone would be there to help his wife and daughter if they were in need. Jody holds a deep conviction that someone should be there for a family in its time of need. That is the simple and sincere principle that guides his public service in Crowley.

Acadia Parish Sheriff K.P. Gibson

Gibson serves as the eighth sheriff of Acadia Parish. Born and raised in Crowley, K.P. has been married for the past 24 years to Monica Sonnier Gibson, and they are the proud parents of two boys, Cameron, 21 and Carter, 7. 

K.P. has served as a law enforcement officer for the past 26 years. He started his career in 1991 with the Lafayette City Police Department. During his time with Lafayette police, he served in the patrol division, working the North Lafayette area, the Field Training Division and the Criminal Investigations Division. K.P. also served on the department's Dignitary Protection Team, as well as the SWAT team. 

In 2002, he successfully ran for the office of Chief of Police for the City of Crowley. Serving as chief of police for 14 years, the Crowley Police Department accomplished many upgrades. These accomplishments include technology upgrades for the department, as well as for the patrol units, creation of the first narcotics unit, renovation of the Crowley Police Department, just to name a few. One major achievement was increasing the starting pay from $1,265 in 2002 to $2,500 in 2016.

In 2015, K.P. successfully ran for the office of Sheriff of Acadia Parish. Since taking office in July of 2016, the department has increased the amount of deputies in enforcement jobs, reduced the response times to calls and has implemented a fleet management program. He continues to work on improving the services of the Acadia Parish Sheriff's Office to better serve the citizens of our parish. 

"I am thankful for the opportunity to serve as your sheriff, and I am honored to be recognized by the International Rice Festival," he stated.

This year's festival is slated for the weekend of Oct. 19 through 22 in downtown Crowley.

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