First Responders Night Brings Community Together in Support of BackStoppers and Military Personnel

Posted on 09/07/2016

It was a night full of football, helicopters, and a very special message on Friday, Sept. 2, 2016, at Francis Howell High School (FHHS). Almost 4,000 people came together for the second annual First Responders Night, an event hosted by the FHHS activities department to recognize and support first responders and military personnel.

Activities Director Sean Erwin was excited about the night, after last year’s event turned out to be one of the community’s favorites. “Last year we started the event to recognize not only first responders, but also military personnel,” Erwin said. “The event has been a group effort between the activities department and the 12th Man Football Boosters. It has quickly become a large event that our community looks forward to.”

Those who explored campus had a chance to speak with officials from Cottleville Fire, St. Charles County EMS, and police and take a look at a few of their vehicles, which were on display as visitors entered the stadium. One highlight that had the crowd out of their seats was the Metro Air Support helicopter’s flyover above the field, only minutes before the game.

The evening was also a great opportunity for special recognitions, including the 2016 State Championship Baseball Team and Coach Tony Perkins, who was named Missouri Baseball Coach of the Year by the MSHSAA and NFHS. A special entrance was made by former FHHS football coach Larry Branson, who was escorted to the field to deliver the football in time for kickoff in a police cruiser. He was recognized for his successful tenure as Vikings’ head coach from 1997-2006.

Radio personality Spencer Graves from 106.5 “The Arch” showed his Vikings pride when he served as emcee of the “Dash for Cash” during halftime, where FHHS and FZE cheerleaders went through the crowd to pass out buckets for donations in support of the BackStoppers. In only 90 seconds, fans raised $1,932. The activities department also received a generous donation from Farmers Agency Owner Mark Arnold, who has been a longtime supporter of FHHS.

“Last year, over $2,100 was raised for the BackStoppers and this year over $1,900 was raised for the organization to bring the two-year total to nearly $4,100,” Erwin said. “A goal of all of our activities, clubs, and sports is to get involved in community outreach and this is a vital component of the goals of our programs.”   

However, despite all the great activities, recognitions, special guests, and performances, it was the true meaning of the event that stood out the most.

“I think the greatest highlight of the evening is the support and appreciation that our military and first responders receive from our fans and community,” Erwin said. “It is great to see our fans and community shaking hands and saying thanks to these great men and women. The generous support is also impressive to see as our fans and community come together to benefit the BackStoppers.”



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