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Education Fund

A Meaningful Journey

Jeremy Branson, the son of fallen hero, Officer James Branson, Jr., EOW 3/9/03, is about to start his senior year at Saint Louis University. Jeremy is majoring in Psychology with a minor in African Studies and pre-law. Upon graduation, he plans to attend the Howard University School of Law. Jeremy recently went on an eye-opening tour over spring break. When we picture a college spring break, most of us think of a non-stop party. Jeremy and some fellow students spent their break in a much different manner.

Every year since 2015, students at Saint Louis University are invited to embark upon an incredible journey. Over spring break, students travel to various landmarks that were instrumental in the modern civil rights movement. The group visited 14 of these historic locations, including the National Civil Rights Museum, the Rosa Parks Museum, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the Slavery Museum.

When asked to describe the trip, Jeremy said, “The experience was a great opportunity for me to learn, grow, and understand the history that shaped the lives of African Americans today. From the moment I left the campus of Saint Louis University, I was filled with joy and aspiration. The trip attendees were very diverse, so I got a chance to see how my history is appreciated from those who do not look like me.”

Speaking about the most memorable part of the tour, Jeremy says, “The trip was full of surprises, and in Selma was probably where I had the most fun, where we did a slave simulation taking us from the coast of Africa down the middle passage to the West Indies and Virginia. The students had no idea that this was going to happen, and it was very hands on. When we arrived at the facility, our tour guide began yelling at us, ‘Line up! Men on the right side and women on the left!’ We were treated as if we were slaves. The feelings of hopelessness and uncertainty that overtook me was sobering. Even as a simulation that I knew was staged, it still resonated deeply with me. I began to empathize and sympathize, and I became pensive when I thought of how much harsher this was for my ancestors. The spontaneity of this experience took me to a place mentally that I greatly appreciated. Besides not being dressed as such, I did feel, slightly, the mental state of a slave. The experience gave me all I was hoping for and more”.

The fight for equality is something Jeremy plans to continue to champion on the SLU campus. Jeremy will serve as the President of the African American Society at SLU for the 2017/2018 school year. He plans “to be an activist while learning about others and their struggles”.

When asked what he wished people knew about The BackStoppers, Jeremy told us, “This organization has been very key in my life. From the fall of my father, you guys stepped in and made sure that my mother, my siblings, and I were well taken care of. I cannot thank you enough for your recognition of us and my father. This organization thrives on donations from individuals who care and who understand. I appreciate that my dad’s legacy lives on considering everything that BackStoppers does. He will truly never be forgotten, and I will do everything I can to make sure that I do my part in The BackStoppers organization”.

We would like to greatly thank Jeremy for sharing his experiences with us! Good luck with all your future endeavors. We are so proud of all you have accomplished and look forward to all your future holds.

The BackStoppers Education Fund ensures that children of fallen first responders will have access to financial resources to pursue educational opportunities, making experiences such as Jeremy Branson’s at St. Louis University possible. We have made a commitment on behalf of the entire community to provide for the future security and education of the families we serve.

 

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Miriam School Gives Back To Education Fund

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 Fund

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Team BackStoppers is Ready to Ride

Team BackStoppers is ready for RAGBRAI XLIV!

The Team leaves today for Iowa where they will ride 420 miles across the state in one week on this year’s RAGBRAI course, raising awareness and funds for BackStoppers.

Team BackStoppers Members fueling up

Team BackStoppers Members fueling up

Members of Team BackStoppers during RAGBRAI 2015

Members of Team BackStoppers during RAGBRAI 2015

Team BackStoppers member Bob Stuckey stopped in our office last week and let us know everyone is ready and excited, and that the heat shouldn’t be too bad this year.  If you can believe the extended forecast, that is.

Jacob Ward and Chief Battelle

Team BackStoppers Member Jacob Ward with The BackStoppers Executive Director Chief Ron Battelle

Team BackStoppers, founded in 2013, is a group of cyclists of all skill levels.  These ambassadors on bikes don BackStoppers jerseys for their annual trip to RAGBRAI and while logging miles in Missouri and Illinois all year long.  Funds raised by the Team benefit The BackStoppers Education Fund.

Good luck Team BackStoppers!  We know you’ll have a very challenging, rewarding, and successful week all while having a lot of fun.  Thank you for everything you do for The BackStoppers!

If you would like to help support Team BackStoppers on RAGBRAI XLIV, make a donation today and include “Team BackStoppers” in the comments.

Team BackStoppers

Team BackStoppers

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First Responders Meet the Challenge!

President and CEO of Edwin Claude, Inc. Paul Abrams presents the ECI First Responder Membership Challenge donation of $10,000 to BackStoppers Board Member Chief (Ret.) Jerry Lee, Executive Director Chief (Ret.) Ron Battelle, and President Mike Shanahan, Jr.

President and CEO of Edwin-Claude, Inc. Paul Abrams presents a $10,000 donation for the Education Fund from the ECI First Responder Membership Challenge to BackStoppers Board Member Chief (Ret.) Jerry Lee, Executive Director Chief (Ret.) Ron Battelle, and President Mike Shanahan, Jr.

In May of last year, we announced that Mr. Paul Abrams, President and CEO of Edwin-Claude, Inc. had issued a challenge: add 200 new first responder members in 2015, and ECI would donate $10,000 to The BackStoppers Education Fund.  We’re happy to announce first responders stepped up to the challenge and exceeded our goal.  In 2015, we added over 230 new first responder members!

The BackStoppers would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to everyone who made this possible.  Thank you to each and every first responder who became a member last year.  Thank you everyone who helped us spread the word about the Challenge.  Thank you Edwin-Claude, Inc. and Paul Abrams for your great support of our mission and the Education Fund, and for your work to increase awareness of The BackStoppers in our coverage area.

This wonderful support helps us to continue our mission, and we are very grateful.

Read about the BackStoppers Education Fund.

 

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