Eight years ago, Rollin’for BackStoppers Executive Director, Lt. Cheryl E. Orange with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, saw a need in the first responder community. She had a vision of gathering minority communities, specifically African American, and spreading awareness of the BackStoppers’ mission. Lt. Orange’s vision became a reality, and Rollin’ for BackStoppers was created.
At the heart of Rollin’ for BackStoppers, is education and awareness. “Our mission is to financially support the BackStoppers and educate all communities on the need to support the families of first responders who have been killed in the line of duty”, says Lt. Orange. As for the Rollin’ for BackStoppers name, “The name of the organization was inspired by our first responders’ service to their communities. First responders serve their community on wheels giving meaning to the name, Rollin’ for BackStoppers.”
Support for Rollin’ for BackStoppers is generated by multiple fundraising events held in September. During Rollin’ for BackStoppers’ early days, the main fundraiser was the all-adult Skate Party that drew 500 participants annually. This was only the beginning. In 2012, the Roll of Remembrance, ‘A Salute to the Fallen’ motorcycle ride was formed. Additionally, the Rollin’ on the River Car and Bike Show on the St. Louis Riverfront and, new this year, the Le Tour De Ride cyclist ride for BackStoppers, have been added to the lineup of Rollin’ for BackStoppers events. All these events take place on the fourth weekend in September, bringing in participants from all over the St. Louis region. Lt. Orange owes the success of Rollin’ for BackStoppers to the events’ loyal participants. “Rollin’ for BackStoppers is a grass-roots effort. Annually, our donation to BackStoppers is generated by community contributions from the participants. Currently, the event participants are the organization’s greatest supporters.”
The passion and drive that Lt. Orange has for the first responder community has also been passed to her son, Private Kentral Williams of the St. Louis Fire Department who is the Committee Director of Rollin’ for BackStoppers. Other first responders dedicate their time by serving on the Rollin’ for BackStoppers Board, including Capt. Guy Jennings, Private Aeron Clay, Sgt. Celestine Humphrey and Roy Whitfield.
Beaming with pride, Lt. Orange shares how appreciative she is, “What continues to be my proudest moment is the community’s continuous support of Rollin’ for BackStoppers. We have been able to make a financial contribution to the BackStoppers cause for the last eight years, helping to facilitate its mission.”
Rollin’ for BackStoppers has generated $58,000 during their eight year history! BackStoppers Executive Director Chief Ron Battelle extends his appreciation, “On behalf of the families we serve, I would like to thank Lt. Cheryl Orange, and everyone involved in making Rollin’ for BackStoppers a success. We appreciate the time and hard work that goes into the fundraisers every September. The support from Rollin’ for BackStoppers goes a long way to assist our families. Thank you!”
“The BackStoppers mission is especially important to me. As a first responder, I have no concern about my family’s financial stability if I were to make the ultimate sacrifice. My son is now a first responder and is reassured that his family is covered, as well, if he were to fall in the line of duty.” – Lt. Cheryl Orange, Rollin’ for BackStoppers Executive Director
To learn more about upcoming Rollin’ for BackStoppers events, visit RollinForBackStoppers.orgRead More
A group of students from Culver-Stockton College were presented an opportunity to honor a fallen officer and support the mission of BackStoppers. Criminal Justice Lecturer and Reserve Deputy in Monticello, Missori Seth McBride designed a student led project to help students remember officers that made the ultimate sacrifice and simultaneously create awareness and support. “I wanted to create a project for the students that would be educational, and service back to the law enforcement community”, McBride recalls. The Fallen Officer Project would not be as simple as writing an essay, but an assignment that would challenge and provoke emotions.
The students began by choosing a fallen officer to represent throughout the duration of the project. With the approval of the college administration and permission from the family or department to represent the officer, the students then commenced research on their chosen hero. The first part of the project would require students to present a live streamed presentation on the officer. The second part of the project required the students to participate in the Badge of Honor Benefit Run. The Badge of Honor Benefit Run is an annual race held in Poplar Bluff, Missouri that benefits BackStoppers among other first responder related organizations. In addition, the students ran the race wearing a T-shirt with their fallen heroes’ name. Afterwards, they sent a letter along with their finisher’s medal to the surviving family or department. “What was special about this project was even with all the requirements, the students still volunteered for the project. The students who participated in the Fallen Officer Project did not receive any college credit. They all wanted to show their appreciation for the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice”.
Students chose fallen officers to represent from all over the country. One student, Eric Pingolt chose to represent and honor Officer Blake Snyder, EOW 10/6/2016, of the St. Louis County Police Department. “I chose to represent Officer Snyder for a couple of reasons. The first reason being that he was from St. Louis and that was about an hour away from where I live. I grew up taking trips to St. Louis so when the tragedy occurred, I couldn’t believe it. Another reason why I chose Officer Snyder was because he was an outstanding police officer, and a very good citizen. Officer Snyder was heavily involved in community service projects along with a strong involvement in his church. The person Officer Snyder was and the example he set is the person I strive to be once I have my own career in the criminal justice field. I think the Fallen Officer Project is important because it remembers the heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice. Being able to do my report on Officer Snyder was not only an honor but a privilege”.
Along with Eric, other students took away a sense of profound respect and impact Deputy McBride hopes they will carry with them for the rest of their careers. “I wanted the students to understand sacrifice on different levels. They needed to understand the ultimate sacrifice the men and women who took the oath deal with every day. Many of the students who participated in this project want to go into law enforcement. The students needed to embrace not just how brave the officers were but see how the families dealt with it as well. I wanted to show the law enforcement community, as well as the country, that students from a college in Northeast Missouri can have a positive outlook on our law enforcement officials, especially the police officers who gave their lives to protect others. I couldn’t be prouder of the students who participated in the Fallen Officer Project”. Deputy McBride also shares that because of the support from the Culver-Stockton College administration, a new course will be offered called “In the Line of Duty,” which will require the students to complete the Fallen Officer Project and include an in-depth study of fallen heroes.
The heart and mission of BackStoppers weighs heavily on Deputy McBride, and he strives to impart this on his students. “I have known about BackStoppers since I started my law enforcement career. During the Fallen Officer Project, I spoke about what BackStoppers is, and the great things they do for families of fallen first responders. It’s important for our students to understand the sacrifices these first responders made for their community. It is also important to show these students how the community comes together to support a great organization such as BackStoppers”.
We are very proud and honored to see this generation pay tribute to fallen first responders and support our mission. Thank you to Deputy Seth McBride for leading the way and spreading awareness of our mission, and thank you to the students that participated in the Fallen Officer Project.Read More
The BackStoppers serves 18 counties in Missouri and Illinois. Because the region served by BackStoppers extends beyond St. Louis, we rely on groups of supporters who volunteer their time to help raise awareness of and funds for our mission in the outlying counties of our coverage area. These groups, called Outlying County Supporter Groups, are integral to the growth of our cause. We are honored to share with you the efforts of the Monroe County supporter group.
Fifteen years ago, Monroe County was added to the BackStoppers coverage area. Deputy Larry Gardner and Deputy Sgt. Dan Hannon of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department led the way for Monroe County BackStoppers by encouraging the community to support the mission of BackStoppers. Advisory Board member and Family Friend Deputy Larry Gardner reflects on the early stages of Monroe County BackStoppers, “We had huge support from local politicians, police and fire chiefs, the Sheriff and the general public. We knew Monroe County could generate the support we needed to become BackStoppers. Monroe County is supportive of all its law enforcement and emergency services”.
The first Saturday in March holds a very special evening for Monroe County. Their annual Trivia Night, which brings in over $24,000 each year for BackStoppers, takes a large committee and months of preparation. Committee meetings beginning in January are held every other week leading up to the Trivia Night. “We have a great group of volunteers, in addition to our committee members, that donate time working our events. We have firefighters, police officers, paramedics and their spouses who religiously donate hours of their time to help. I can’t say enough about the group of people we have assembled on our committee. Every one of them brings something to the table. We could not begin to do this without each one of them”. This dedicated group executes the favored fundraiser that is not only a great time, but a chance to bring awareness to the cause.
Deputy Gardner shares one of his proudest moments of the annual Trivia Night, “It is a proud moment for us to present a large check to BackStoppers every year. It makes all the hard work worth it! I believe we might still be one of the largest fundraisers on this side of the river”. March 2019 will mark the 15th anniversary of the Trivia Night.
Monroe County continues to support and spread awareness of BackStoppers during the summer months. The Brat Stop fundraiser held in July draws in crowds with a massive, eye-catching banner and, of course, brats. Last summer Monroe County BackStoppers also participated in the Sonnebergs Big Green Eggs Festival. Because of the work of Monroe County and the support of the community, they have presented over $300,000 to BackStoppers throughout their history!
This small group with a big heart has plans to further engage the community. Recently, Monroe County has gained their own space where they are able to plan future fundraising events and generate support.
Beyond the organizing, coordinating and putting on great fundraisers, Monroe County has kept the families we assist their sole purpose. Deputy Gardner says, “BackStoppers’ mission is important because without BackStoppers a family could be totally devastated. To take away an income, not to mention the emotional stress of losing a spouse, father or a mother could lead to disaster for a family. With BackStoppers there will be no financial stress, and they will do what they can to help with the emotional stress. We feel very privileged to be a small part of this well respected organization”.
“We greatly appreciate the dedication of all those in Monroe County that help us to carry out our mission of serving families of fallen first responders. We could not do what we do without the continued loyalty and love from these friends of BackStoppers. Thank you, Monroe County!” —-Chief Ron Battelle, BackStoppers Executive Director.