BackStoppers sets new fundraising record

RECORD BREAKER — The Warren County Backstoppers organization presented a check of $110,000 to Ron Battelle of Backstoppers Thursday, Aug. 27, breaking all previous records.Pictured, from left, are members of the Warren County Backstoppers board of directors, Justin Backhaus, Frank Stuermann, Ron Battelle, Kevin Harrison, Amy Ellard, Jeff Backhaus, Lulu Hasenjaeger, Pam Backhaus, John Dolan and Ralph Hellebusch. Cindy Gladden photo.
Adam Rollins
Staff Writer

The Warren County BackStoppers organization broke its record again this year for fundraising to support the families of first responders who are injured or killed in the line of duty.

The Warren County group presented $110,000 to the BackStoppers parent organization on Aug. 27. It’s the largest-ever contribution from the Warren County branch, which has now raised $670,000 over 10 years.

Most of the money is raised from the annual Warren County BackStoppers dinner and auction in February. Jeff Backhaus, chairman of the Warren County BackStoppers Committee, said private donations also contribute to the funds.

“We had a very good year. ... It never ceases to amaze me how the people respond to what we need,” Backhaus said. “We are the No. 2 fundraiser for BackStoppers for a single event. The only single event that raises more than us is Guns and Hoses.”

Backhaus said this year’s donation is particularly meaningful because of the recent shooting death of St. Louis police officer Tamarris Bohannon. The officer was shot while on duty Aug. 29, just days after the Warren County donation. BackStoppers was founded to support families left behind after such tragedies.

“I think everybody that’s involved, from the committee to the workers that help us, to the people that donate, should feel proud and blessed that we are able to donate for someone that’s killed in the line of duty protecting us on a daily basis,” Backhaus said.

He attributed this year’s record fundraising to ever-increasing support from community members willing to donate or spend money at the auction, as well variations in the auction items that can draw higher bids.

BackStoppers Executive Director Ron Battelle said the funding provided by Warren County is much-appreciated in a year when many other fundraisers have been canceled due to COVID-19. The need hasn’t disappeared for families of first responders.

“We’ve lost a police officer and firefighter so far (this year). We had a paramedic who was paralyzed in an automobile accident in an ambulance. Five or six city police officers have been shot or wounded. This has been a trying year for us,” Battelle explained.

Battelle said he’s amazed every year when he comes to the February fundraiser in Warren County. It’s incredible, he said, to find so much support in an area that’s relatively removed from the challenges being faced by urban police and first responders.

“It’s very humbling, seeing how the community comes out and supports us, year in and year out,” he commented. “The families, I can guarantee, appreciate what Warren County BackStoppers do for the organization and them.”

Battelle said plans are already underway for next year’s dinner and auction in Warren County, and that he hopes local organizers will continue to receive the same community support.


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