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Families of Officials Supported

The families of Cole County emergency workers who die in the line of duty now have financial help.The newly-formed Mid-Missouri Safety Net met Wednesday to get some much-needed information from the Backstoppers, the organization they are trying to emulate out of St. Louis. The purpose of Mid-Missouri Safety net is to provide financial help to the families of officials killed in the line of duty.Currently, the organization has about $100,00 to support the family if an emergency worker died. Safety Net leaders say the money would not last very long if someone did die, but they feel the community will step up its efforts once it finds out what they are about.Leaders say they would respond within 24-hours and stay in contact with the family for decades after. “It’s usually younger officer with a young wife and young kids, they have a mortgage, car payments, credit card payments and if it happens, they lose their life, we just want to make their life a lot easier for the survivors,” said Marc Burns, the president of the Mid-Missouri Safety Net.Bruns, a former firefighter and state representative, says there are no other organizations in the area like this one. He says luckily there are not as many deaths in Mid-Missouri as other areas. Bruns did not have exact numbers, but he did say in the last 20 years, there have been about 20 deaths.All of the money that would go to the families will come from donations and most believe the community is strong enough to step up.”Ladies and gentlemen are putting their lives on the line everyday,” said Backstoppers President Ron Batelle. “They walk out the door, we pray that nothing ever happens to them, but if it does, the community needs to be willing to stand up and say we’re going to take care of them.”The president says they already have fundraisers planned for the near future to make sure they have a stronger long-term financial stability. The Mid-Missouri Safety Net currently only covers Cole County first responders. However, there are plans to expand it to Columbia and the Lake of the Ozarks.

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