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.