The successful story of the BBQ for BackStoppers begins with event organizer, Chuck Gerding of Gerding Enterprise, who wanted to make a difference after the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Chuck recalls those early BBQ planning days, “When 9/11 happened I was told that I was too old to join the military, and it tore at me not being able to contribute. I own an aerospace company and we always did our own cooking at our yearly company picnics. I came up with the idea to have a BBQ trailer designed and manufactured dedicated to our first responders and military. After a couple of years of cooking for customers, employees, family, and friends, I realized it wasn’t enough. So, we started looking for different organizations to help. Luckily, we found BackStoppers. We did research and found out what a truly wonderful organization it is. The first year in 2016, after planning for five weeks, we held the BBQ in Cedar Hill, Missouri.”
The first BBQ raised $12,500 with the help of the army of volunteers that is the Screaming Eagle Team, also known as the Scream Team. Great BBQ is not the only element that brings in the crowds, live music, and first responder displays. A premium raffle drawing and grand fireworks display are also components that the Scream Team executes seamlessly. Unlike the first year of planning the event five weeks out, the planning now begins nearly eight months prior to the event.