Founded in 1959, BackStoppers helps families of fallen police officers, firefighters, paramedics, and EMTs with financial assistance, including paying off debt, providing insurance, reimbursing medical expenses, covering educational costs, and miscellaneous expenses. The organization also assists first responders who suffer catastrophic injuries on duty. Backstoppers currently supports upwards of 95 families – with an estimated 70 dependent children between them – with $2.5 million in aid each year. Nicholas Melillo – Founder and Owner of Foundation Cigar Company – has created a special cigar for the cause.
Next week, cigars in hand, Melillo will join the attendees of 10th Annual JR Cigars Dinner benefiting Backstoppers. The Backstoppers cigar measures 6 x 52 and is being presented in boxes of 10. The special blend consists of an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper leaf around binder and filler tobaccos from Nicaragua. He shares that “This is an amazing dinner for a great cause. Wally Pankowski asked me 2 years ago if I would attend and I didn’t hesitate. We have a special blend for the event and the full Foundation portfolio along with some event only treats.” The 2022 event rasied over $100,000 for the charity in just one night.
The BackStoppers currently provide over $200,000 annually for education-related expenses, however due to rising tuition costs and growing family needs, a $5 million goal has been set to meet future obligations. The BackStoppers Education Fund is a $5 million campaign aimed at providing financial support for the educational needs of children of fallen police officers, firefighters, and publicly-funded paramedics/EMTs. Funds raised will help establish a reserve to ensure that these children can pursue elementary, secondary, or post-secondary opportunities without financial constraints. To find out more about Backstoppers, and to hear from the St. Louis area families being helped, visit Backstoppers.org today.