The third annual BackStoppers Dinner, Dance and Auction achieved its fund-raising goal of $50,000, according to Jeff Backhaus, event chairman and fire chief of the Marthasville Volunteer Fire Department.
“The event went very well,” Backhaus remarked. “We couldn’t ask for anything better.”
“It’s amazing how well the community supports the Warren County BackStoppers,” remarked Frank Stuermann, who is a member of the committee which organizes the annual event.
“It was very much a lot of fun,” he added.
A total of 400 tickets were available. The event, which was held Saturday, Feb. 16, at the St. Ignatius Community Center in Concord Hill was a sellout.
Money raised by the event is still being collected, but Backhaus said enough money was raised to make a $50,000 donation to the St. Louis BackStoppers organization and to fund expenses associated with next year’s event.
Stuermann attributes the continued success of the event to increased awareness of the BackStoppers organization and its purpose.
“People are learning more about (BackStoppers), and they know what it’s for,” Stuermann asserted. “Everybody relates to ‘Guns ‘N’ Hoses,’ and I tell them we’re just taking a different avenue to benefit the organization.”
“Guns ‘N’ Hoses is an annual amateur boxing event which features matches between firefighters and law enforcement officers.
On behalf of the Warren County BackStoppers, Backhaus expressed appreciation to the individuals and businesses who donated items which were sold during the silent and oral auctions, and to the people who participated in the auctions and the event itself.
Throughout the three-year history of the event, which is organized by the Warren County BackStoppers, donations have increased each year, according to Backhaus.
The first year, a donation of $30,000 was made. The following year, the event raised enough for a $40,000 contribution to the St. Louis BackStoppers.
“The people out here are just unbelievable,” Backhaus stated. “Without the support of the community, this event would not be possible.”
“It’s a fun organization to be part of,” Stuermann said. “I feel like we’re doing something good.”
The fourth annual BackStoppers Dinner, Dance and Auction will be held Feb. 15, 2014, Backhaus noted.
The St. Louis BackStoppers distributes the funds to assist families of first responders — firefighters, law enforcement officers or ambulance personnel — who are killed in the line of duty.
Stuermann noted that 85 percent of the donations made to BackStoppers are used to benefit surviving spouses and children of deceased first responders.
Currently, there are three families in Warren County receiving assistance from the St. Louis BackStoppers.
All three individuals who died in the performance of their duties were law enforcement officers.
Vernon Seals, who died in October 2002. He was a part-time member of the Truesdale Police Department;
Lonnie Cole, who was killed in October 2003. He was a deputy with the Warren County Sheriff’s Department; and
Paul J. Fricke, who lost his life in August 2010. Fricke was the Hawk Point police chief and a deputy with the Warren County Sheriff’s Department.
BackStoppers serves the city of St. Louis and 11 Missouri counties, including Warren, Franklin, Jefferson, Lincoln, Perry, Pike, St. Charles, St. Francois, St. Louis, Ste. Genevieve and Washington.
The organization also serves five counties in Illinois, including Bond, Clinton, Madison, Monroe and St. Clair.