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 Washington County BackStoppers supporter group.
Washington County is one of the southern-most counties in the BackStoppers coverage area. A rural county with a large land mass and small population, first responder departments are often faced with having to cover a lot of ground and relying on aid from other area departments. Residents of Washington County show their gratitude for their first responders by supporting the Washington County BackStoppers.
September 11, 2001 brought about a rising concern among Washington County departments for who would be there to help in the tragic event of losing a first responder in the line of duty. Representatives of law enforcement, fire service and EMS collaborated to form a committee to answer this need. With assistance and support from neighboring counties covered by BackStoppers, Washington County was added to the coverage area in 2006.
Sadly, a year after being added to the BackStoppers coverage area, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office lost Deputy Sheriff Michael Triplett who died in vehicle accident while responding to a call on November 29, 2007. He left behind his wife and three children. Then on December 15, 2012, Deputy Sheriff Chris Parsons was shot and killed during an ambush after responding to a 911 call. Deputy Sheriff Parsons had only served with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office for two months.
Deputy Sheriffs Chris Parsons and Michael Triplett are honored with reverence during the Washington County BackStoppers Annual Member Appreciation Dinner. The Dinner, sponsored by the YMCA of the Ozarks, is a way of saying thanks to the first responders of Washington County and the residents who support them by giving to BackStoppers as members.
In addition to the Dinner, Washington County BackStoppers has held an annual golf tournament since July of 2007. Following the death of Deputy Sheriff Triplett, the golf tournament was named in his honor. The Deputy Mike Triplett Golf Tournament is the group’s primary fundraiser, bringing in around $8,000 each year. Gloria Triplett, surviving spouse of Deputy Sheriff Triplett, has attended the golf tournament every year since 2008. She spends her time walking the course and thanking each of the players for their support. Most of the same players, teams and sponsors have remained loyal to the tournament for the past 12 years.
Washington County BackStoppers committee leaders, Chief (Ret.) Bob Hahn and Chief Mike Gum, show hard work and dedication when engaging the community and planning fundraisers. Organizing the Golf Tournament and Dinner while also taking on opportunities to spread awareness of the mission at other functions is something that only comes with good networking with the community. Fundraising in a small community population can be a challenge, but the Washington County BackStoppers group ensures to the community members that the mission of BackStoppers is important and necessary.
Since 2006, the Washington County BackStoppers Supporter Group has raised over $60,000 for BackStoppers. The support coming from Washington County goes a long way for the families that we serve. We are immensely thankful for the dedication and love that continues to flow from Washington County.
“Our greatest thanks extended to our friends in Washington 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