Spotlight Supporters: St. Francois County

The BackStoppers serves 18 counties in Missouri and Illinois. Because our coverage area extends beyond St. Louis, we rely on groups of supporters who volunteer their time in the outlying counties. These Outlying County Supporter Groups are integral to the growth of our cause. We are honored to share with you the efforts of the St. Francois County BackStoppers supporter group.

The St. Francois community prides itself on showing appreciation for first responders. The greatest way the citizens give back to public servants is by attending events organized by the St. Francois County BackStoppers. These popular events are cherished by citizens and first responders alike and create a solid show of support for the mission of BackStoppers.

Brian Boyer, 15-year member and current treasurer of St. Francois County BackStoppers, shares how his county contributes to the mission. “We have two annual events, the Boot Drive and Fallen Heroes Ride, and a Biennial Membership Banquet. The most anticipated fundraiser is the Annual Boot Drive, bringing many local first responders to the spotlight at the stoplights. “The great people of St. Francois County love their first responders and are very generous every year.”  Boots overflow with support, bringing in around $9,000 each year. The first Biennial Membership Banquet took place eight years ago. “Many of our area businesses have stepped up to support this event by attending, donating auction items and becoming members. We have now hosted four Membership Drive Banquets and have been a great success!”

The fundraisers require a lot of hard work and many meetings. The Boot Drive alone relies on over 60 volunteers. Brian reflects, “I am the proudest when I see first responder volunteers show up in big numbers to help with the events. Seeing your community step up without being asked makes me very proud to be part of this organization and the community we live in”.

The group has raised a total $180,000 in its history, confirming the importance of our mission to the people of St. Francois County. For many, it hits close to home. St. Francois County has lost three heroes in the line of duty: Deputy Sheriff Steven Ziegler, EOW 9/30/01, Chief Jerry Hicks, Sr., EOW 12/4/11 and Deputy Sheriff Paul Clark, EOW 7/4/16. “I have seen firsthand how families are affected by sudden tragic events. They are affected financially and emotionally. BackStoppers can provide a broad range of support to those families. BackStoppers is a unique organization that we as a county are very proud to be a part of. We know that if a catastrophic injury or line of duty death occurs, BackStoppers will be there to help the family.”

“Our greatest thanks extended to our friends in St. Francois County. The hard work and dedication to our mission is recognized and deeply appreciated. On behalf of the families we serve, thank you! – Chief Ron Battelle, BackStoppers Executive Director