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Two winners await chance to blow up the bridge

Cheryl Thiede has a good idea about whose itchy trigger finger should blow up a portion of the nearly 80-year-old span of the Daniel Boone Bridge. She said maybe it should be hers.

Craig Leavell and Don Boschert

Thiede is president of the First Capitol Lion’s Club in St. Charles, which just happens to hold the winning ticket in a special fundraising raffle offering a chance to “blow up the bridge” in support of two local Boys and Girls Club chapters.

Two winners – one for the raffle and another for a separate online auction – will trigger explosives that are expected to drop the old bridge into the Missouri River.

“I’m the president, I’m the one who probably should be pushing the button,” Thiede joked.

The raffle winner was drawn on Jan. 24 at the Boys and Girls Clubs office in St. Charles by Executive Director Craig Leavell.

Thiede added that the decision about which Lions Club member gets to trigger the explosion will be worked out.  She noted that the Lions Club was just happy to help a worthy organization like the Boys and Girls Clubs.

Support for worthy organizations isn’t anything new for the Lions. The 92-member First Capitol Lion’s Club includes members from the city of St. Charles and St. Charles County and supports a number of groups and organizations, particularly those that support people with visual and hearing impairments, including the Missouri School for the Blind, Missouri Eye Research Foundation and the state mobile hearing van.

Scott Reed, of Wildwood, was the online auction winner. Reed said that although his family had moved to St. Louis County, they were long-time St. Charles County residents.  He pledged $1,125 in the auction.

“Our families have used the facilities at the Boys and Girls Club, so I’m glad to see them get some financial support from the community,” Reed said. He made his comments during a telephone call with Leavell and Don Boschert, a former chapter board member, who called to notify Reed that he was the auction winner.

In addition, Edward Jones pledged $5,000 as a sponsor of the event.

Two separate explosions are expected to be triggered over two days in a secured safe location under the guidance of the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT).  However, Jeannette Koechner, community development director for the Boys and Girls Clubs in St. Charles County, said exact dates for the bridge demolitions have not been determined.

In all, the raffle, auction and sponsorship donations for the event, raised $9,035, part of which will be used for computer equipment and software, and contributed toward the $1.6 million fundraising goal for the organization.

The St. Charles County chapter serves about 1,500 young people, ages 6-18, at two locations – one in St. Charles and another in St. Peters. The organization provides athletic, academic, after-school and meals programs.

MoDOT became a partner with the Boys & Girls Club chapters based on an idea by Boschert and the help of local state legislators, including former State Sen. Thomas Dempsey, Koechner said. Boschert also thanked Alberici and Walsh Construction, two contractors involved with the Daniel Boone project.

Reed will get to choose either the first or second phase of the demolition. The Lions Club will get second choice.

Jessica Hochlan, a spokesperson for the St. Louis office for MoDOT, said construction crews will dismantle portions of the bridge before considering the use of explosives to drop the rest of the bridge. Grading and cleanup on the overall project is expected to be finished by spring or early summer next year.



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