Lily Shaffrey, daughter of Cedar Hill Fire Battalion Chief Marvin Shaffrey, EOW 11/2/21, addressed the attendees of the BackStoppers Annual Membership Dinner held in April. Lily boldly shared memories of her father, how she continues to honor his memory today and her endeavors and goals.

“On November 2, 2021, my life came to a screeching halt as my father passed away due to COVID-19. He served our community for 42 years, starting at the age of 13. Firefighter, supporter, mentor, goofball – all represented my dad, who suddenly was not going to be in my life anymore. I did not know how much my dad meant to me until his presence was absent. He won’t be there to view and break down my wrestling matches with me, and I will no longer hear his encouraging voice at my sporting events. I never thought that I would miss him ‘embarrassing me’ (by simply talking to my friends), his endless ‘helpful’ lectures on what I could improve on and telling me to help pick up sticks in the yard.

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With the loss of my dad came questions of how it would affect me in school, sports, and the big question of finances (because my dad was the main breadwinner). I am a tad bit ambitious, thanks to my dad, and strive to do my best in everything. As Dad would say, anything worth doing is worth overdoing. Dad was a hard worker and instilled that great work ethic in me. I desire to excel and will work hard to receive the best education that I can.

However, college is costly, and I thought my dreams would be crushed. I asked my mom what we were going to do next, and to my surprise, there was an answer. This is where I found out about an angel that is BackStoppers. Just a day after my dad passed away, they had already begun helping my family. BackStoppers knew that they could never replace the loss of my dad, but they offered my family hope and allowed us time to grieve. Their support helped me focus on school and sports.

I proceeded to have straight A’s my junior year and made it to State again in wrestling. I think my dad would be proud. As I continued excelling in my academics my senior year, I was nominated to attend a medical camp at the prestigious Washington University. Wash U has been my dream school, and this would be an incredible opportunity to get to know its teachers and campus. However, Wash U is well-known for its medical prowess and the camp was incredibly expensive. I reached out to BackStoppers asking if they could help with expenses and they generously accepted. This camp will give me a competitive edge and will help me excel even more with my chosen medical career in Physical Therapy. In the fall I will be attending University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy here in St. Louis, and then hope to receive my doctorate at Wash U. I’m excited and looking forward to my future.

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BackStoppers has backed me, and I realize that my dreams are achievable. I would like to thank BackStoppers and all of you, the donors who support them. Without you my aspirations and goals might not have been realized or accomplished. With each donation, know that you impact a life who has lost a piece of theirs. Who knows, when I get my doctorate maybe I will see you in my office.”

From daycare through university, our assistance and commitment to helping the children of fallen heroes will never waver. Educational costs and expenses continue to rise, and we understand the financial toll that can have on a family. To learn more about our Education Fund visit