We recently expanded our coverage area into 10 new counties, including Perry County, Illinois. Perry County residents Capt. (Ret.) Dave and Christine Houston immediately engaged and formed the BackStoppers of Perry County, Illinois Outlying County Supporter Group.  BackStoppers Outlying County Supporter Groups consist of dedicated committees that work to spread awareness and raise funds beyond the St. Louis area. These groups are a vital part of our organization, and we are thrilled to receive support from our friends in Perry County, Illinois.

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In 2022 when Perry County became part of BackStoppers’ coverage area, Dave and Christine rapidly began forming BackStoppers of Perry County, Illinois. They explain the initial challenges of raising awareness in a community where many did not know about BackStoppers, “Perry County is far enough from St. Louis that most residents do not receive St. Louis-based news.  Because of this, almost no one had ever even heard of BackStoppers.  This was a difficult hurdle to overcome.  However, once the Chief Officers of the Perry County Emergency Response Agencies began to personally inform the public about the organization, things changed.  Having the BackStoppers’ purpose and mission presented by these trusted Chief Officers helped the public to engage in a big way.  Since then, we have experienced rapidly increasing support and growing willingness to become involved.”


Fundraising events started ramping up and the community responded to BackStoppers through local newspaper promotions, restaurant give back days and generous sponsorships. Perry County’s first year of fundraising efforts raised more than $26,000! Most recently, what is sure to become a popular and sought-after event, Brats for BackStoppers, was held and proved to be a very successful day. “We recently had a ‘Brats for Backstoppers’ fundraiser which was extremely enjoyable.  It brought all aspects of our committee’s efforts together.  We had first responders, families and members of the public come together to work at the event.  We had local businesses step up and cover all the expenses, equipment, and location. We had a tremendous response from the public and sold out early! We are very happy with this success and are looking forward to repeating this event.”

The future looks bright for Perry County as they continue to build new ideas for engagement and fundraising. “We kicked off the year with a committee meeting where we reflected on 2022 and discussed 2023 goals. Our focus over this next year is to 1) focus on awareness and expand engagement (i.e., first responders, local businesses, and community), 2) keep building fundraising events by improving on recurring events, add new events and new events in other communities within the county, and 3) drive to increase membership.” With these objectives in place, BackStoppers of Perry County is sure to thrive and make a great impact on our mission and the Perry County community.

Dave and Christine share how important it is to share the mission of BackStoppers in Perry County, “In smaller more rural communities like ours, residents are very likely to personally know some, if not most of their first responders. These personal relationships make the mission of BackStoppers profoundly more personal, meaningful, and imperative.  All first responders deal with the risks of their job every day.  They deserve the support of their communities and the people they serve.  BackStoppers allows a smaller, less populated community to ensure an elevated level of support that would likely not be attainable on a local basis, regardless of the level of support and generosity of a community.”

We are honored to have Dave, Christine and the BackStoppers of Perry County, Illinois committee as part of our mission. Their hearts and generous spirits are what keep our mission active. We look forward to seeing everything Perry County has in store for BackStoppers!

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