Ralph Tatoian, Jr. has started his journey of service by recently graduating Basic Training at, “Sand Hill” Fort Benning, Georgia. He is continuing to display the bravery and courage shown by his father, Trooper Ralph Tatoian of Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop C, EOW 4/20/2005. A life of serving and protecting this community and the nation is a legacy that Ralph has decided to carry on.
Through the incredible challenges of Basic Training, Ralph has been able to successfully complete this chapter of his military career. Graduating at Fort Benning with the Alpha Company 2nd Battalion 3rd Infantry Regiment, Ralph reflects on the last few months and graduating, “It was probably the proudest I have been in my life. After Basic Training, there is a large mixture of pride in what you accomplished mixed with relief that you don’t have to be there anymore.”
Currently, Ralph is advancing in his career at Fort Meyer in Arlington, Virginia where he is continuing his job training as a U.S. Army Infantryman in the Hotel Company, 1st Battalion 3rd Infantry Regiment, “The Old Guard”. This new chapter has proven to bring new trials and emotions. As Ralph says, “It’s a mixture of feelings. Every morning it’s a struggle to drag myself out of bed early, but when I go out and help render final respects to those we bury, or when I’m out training as an infantryman, I feel very proud to know I get to put on my uniform and go out and do my job like my father did as a Trooper”.
The future holds promise for Ralph. When his initial contract is complete, he plans on coming back to Missouri to re-enlist in the Missouri National Guard. From one generation to the next, he also has a dream of pursuing a career in law enforcement. Along with his military and law enforcement career plans, Ralph also displays an interest in music. Leading a legacy of honor and strength has been demonstrated by Ralph, and his commitment to his country and community is evident.
Remembering the time in Ralph’s life when his father was killed in the line of duty, he recalls The BackStoppers being there for him and his family. “To me, BackStoppers is probably the most comforting thing to a family after they have lost a loved one, obviously financially but more so in the support you get. Lots of people will give you very sincere sympathy when tragedy strikes, but eventually they have to return to their everyday lives. The BackStoppers is always there supporting you and, when you may feel doubt about it, showing you that people really care about the sacrifice your loved one made.”
The BackStoppers helps children of fallen heroes, like Ralph, achieve their goals and dreams by providing financial assistance and support. Speaking about how we help, Ralph said, “I’m just so appreciative of what you all do and that The BackStoppers has helped so many families in so many ways. I can’t imagine how hard it would be for many families of survivors without the support that The BackStoppers gives”.Read More
A group of 22 dedicated students from Miriam School chose to give back to the BackStoppers through their Service and Gratitude service project. Lead by their teachers, Andrea Rosenfeld and Candi Chiburisa, these students made a plan to sell beaded keychains at the school to show their gratitude to St. Louis area first responders, families and especially their children. Miriam School’s mission statement, ” to encourage children with complex learning disabilities to recognize and successfully meet their potential,”
inspired this group to give their keychain sale proceeds to the BackStoppers Education Fund. With a bead shop open for business, charging $1 per beaded keychain and taking custom orders, these students raised over $200 towards the Education Fund. We are incredibly grateful for this support from this young group, and for their dedication to our mission.
One of the most important commitments The BackStoppers makes to survivor families is an assurance that their children will be able to afford whatever educational opportunities they have or that their parents had planned for them. Meeting these educational costs is often one of the major expenses for surviving families, and one of the most important. Because of those supporting our Education Fund, we are able to provide future security and education of the families of those who have fallen in the line of duty.
Click here to learn more about our Education FundRead More
The BackStoppers is now assisting the family of Captain John Kemper of the St. Louis Fire Department who died in the line of duty on July 12, 2017 as a result of injuries sustained battling a structural fire on July 5, 2017.
Capt. Kemper, who was 59-years old, was a 24-year veteran of the St. Louis Fire Department, serving as captain for nearly 10 years. He leaves behind his wife and adult daughter. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends, and fellow firefighters and co-workers.
Fire Captain John Kemper
St. Louis Fire Department
With the addition of the family of Capt. John Kemper, we are now assisting 82 families with 66 dependent children and have assisted 161 families since 1959.
The BackStoppers’ assistance is immediate and ongoing. Following the death of a firefighter, his or her family receives a check for $5,000 to be used in whatever way they need.
Within a few weeks, our representatives meet with the surviving spouse to identify the family’s other financial obligations, eliminate the family’s debt, and provide ongoing support for education and other extraordinary expenses.
We recognize the tremendous sacrifices that public servants make every day when they go to work. We understand the burdens placed on surviving spouses and children when tragedies occur. We believe our community has an obligation to care for the loved ones of those who have protected us. We accept the responsibility to make that happen. Join us in our cause. Help us provide life-long support for families of fallen heroes by donating or joining online or by mail to the address below.
The BackStoppers, Inc.
PO Box 795168
Saint Louis, MO 63179-0700