ST. LOUIS (KPLR) – There was a big announcement Monday about the future of a St. Louis tradition: the Guns N Hoses benefit for the families of police, firefighters, and EMS workers killed in the line of duty.
It's the biggest fundraiser of the year for The Backstoppers: the organization that covers things like mortgage payments and college costs for families of the fallen.
The event will still be at Scottrade Center but its moving back to its traditional date: Thanksgiving Eve.
That’s back where it belongs for one of those families of the fallen.
“There were a lot of tears last year when they couldn’t go,” Julie Lueck said, referring to her four children.
Lueck was married to St. Louis County Police Sergeant, Rick Weinhold, who was also an instructor at the police academy. Weinhold was shot and killed in the line of duty, Halloween day, 15 years ago. Weeks later her children attended their first Guns N Hoses.
They’d all gone to everyone since then, until last year. The event was delayed until January amid the unrest in Ferguson.
“My daughter made a big Facebook message after last year about how hard it was going to be not to have the support she needs to make it through the year because you look around the arena and everybody there is basically saying ‘we’re here to back you. We care about your dad. We care about you and how you’re going to turn out,’” Lueck said of her daughter, now a junior in college.
Her son David is now a St. Louis County Police officer.
“If you’ve never been to Guns N Hoses this is the year to go…November 25th, 6:30, Scottrade Center,” said The Backstopper Executive Director, Ron Battelle, who was the St. Louis County Police Chief when Weinhold was killed. “You can just feel it in the arena when these fights are going on, and they all cheer for one or the other (police or firefighters/EMS).”
“One of Rick’s students boxed in his honor. He gave me his medal. It was probably the best fight I’ve ever seen. He lit the guy up. It was amazing. I cried. It was awesome because I knew with each punch he was like, ‘I’m there for you,’” Lueck said.
With police officers across the area “On Call” amid with the pending Mike Brown grand jury decision last November, the 2014 Guns N Hoses was delayed until early 2015.
Lueck’s daughter is thrilled with the return to Thanksgiving Eve.
“She’s still going to need that love. She’ll still be going every year to get her fix,” Lueck said.
Guns N Hoses has raised nearly $5 million in its 28 year history. It raised about $340,000 in January, an increase from the past couple of years, in spite of the delay.
Backstoppers has helped 154 St. Louis area families of the fallen since its creation in 1959.
Guns N Hoses tickets range in price from $15-$35.
They are on sale now at Scottrade Center and all Hair Saloon locations. They’re also available through Ticketmaster.