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Francis Howell raises thousands for The BackStoppers Inc.

Francis Howell High hosted its 5th Annual First Responders’ Night football game on Friday, Sept. 6.

Francis Howell took on the Kirkwood Pioneers while also raising money and awareness for The BaskStoppers, Inc.

The BackStoppers’ mission is to give financial assistance to families of fallen first responders.

The event was organized by Activity Director Sean Erwin with the help of the “12th Man” Francis Howell Football Boosters, an organization that supports the athletic department and football feeder program of Francis Howell High. The event began with a DJ dance party and a flyover by a World War II B255 bomber. Soon after, a police helicopter landed, and the game ball was handed to Jennifer Heismeyer, president of the 12th Man Football Boosters.

Heismeyer spearheads the task of organizing the helicopter landing for the annual First Responders’ Night.

“After the first year, we thought they would enact a policy against it,” Heismeyer said. “But everyone loved it so much, and they let us continue!”

Following a fireworks display, marching bands from Francis Howell Middle and Francis Howell High joined to play the National Anthem.”

“It’s the game everyone goes to,” freshman Noah Peters said.

Before the game began, first responders were asked to come down to the field, and veterans, were asked to stand; both received a standing ovation. Over 5,000 attendees were estimated at the event.

“Recognizing the first responders is what makes the night special,” sophomore Daniel Fields said. “It’s more than a thank you could ever do.”

The Vikings beat the Pioneers with a final score of 24-14. A total of $2,000 was raised for The BackStoppers from the event. Heismeyer presented the proceeds to the Cottleville Fire Department on Sept. 11.

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