Guardians recruit 100th member

Sunday, September 30, 2001

Members of the Guardians gathered to celebrate recruiting their 100th charter member. The group is raising money for the families of Cape Girardeau County firefighters or policemen killed in the line of duty. From left, front row: Cape Girardeau Police Chief Steve Strong; Cape Girardeau County Sheriff John Jordan; Bill Bohnert, treasurer, Cape Girardeau Police Officers Association; Charles Brawley, Cape Girardeau Firefighters Association Local 1084; Cape Girardeau Fire Chief Mike Lackman, Jackson Fire Chief Brad Golden, Dave Hitt, Cape Girardeau County Firefighters Association; back row: charter board members of the Guardians: John Mehner, Bob Neff, Rex Rust, Mike Kohlfeld, Charles Hutson, Dr. Pat Ruopp, Dr. David Feuerhahn and R.J. McKinney.Southeast Missourian

With America's wounds from the tragic events of Sept. 11 still fresh, members of the Guardian program in Cape Girardeau County have a grim reminder of the purpose of their own organization.

Patterned after the St. Louis-based Backstoppers program, the group raises money for the families of Cape Girardeau County firefighters or policemen killed in the line of duty.

The events of Sept. 11 in New York highlighted awareness of "just what kind of risk these people take for the community," said Bob Neff, president of the Guardian program. With that in mind, Guardian members hope their numbers will continue to increase, he said.

The Guardians recently recruited their 100th member, a scant four months after the program got its start. Charter rolls now stand at 105.

Plans are to continue holding the charter rolls open until Dec. 31. Then only regular memberships will be available.

Membership fees are used to erase the debts of families left behind by police and firefighters. Money is also available for scholarships for their children.

Guardians will also act as custodian for donations made from the community to support families of the area's slain officers.

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