By TRAVIS MORSE
MT. VERNON — —
The local Brian M. Piper Memorial Foundation Tuesday made a $7,500 donation to the Shriners Hospitals for Children — St. Louis.
The check was presented to a representative of the St. Louis Shriners facility at a special ceremony Tuesday night at the Jefferson County Shrine Club headquarters.
Stephen Yandell, foundation vice president, said the donation fits in well with his organization's mission to help children in need.
The nonprofit foundation is named in honor of Brian Piper, a lifelong Mt. Vernon resident who died in a vehicle crash in November 2011. Though he never had kids of his own, Piper loved children all his life, Yandell said.
Piper's close friends and family formed the foundation in January 2012.
“Brian was a very large man in stature, but was an even larger man in heart,” Yandell said. “He truly was a giving heart and he also was an organ donor.”
This is the second such donation the foundation has awarded to the Shriners organization. A similar contribution was made last year.
In October, the foundation also gave $1,000 each to two Summersville families whose children were injured in an ATV accident.
“The foundation was started to honor (Brian's) name and his memory to help children and their medical needs,” Yandell said.
Each fall, the foundation holds a poker run to raise money for the cause. The run is called the “Giving Heart” Memorial Ride.
Tuesday's contribution will go toward the ongoing effort to build a new Shriners Hospital in St. Louis. The planned facility would replace the current 50-year-old hospital in Frontenac, states the Shriners website.
“We know every penny they make will be put to good use,” Yandell said.
Mike Piper, Brian's father, is president of the foundation. He said the donation to the Shriners will be an annual occurrence.
“We're going to continue to do this as many years as we possibly can,” Mike Piper said.
Karl Kaufman, president of the Jefferson County Shrine Club, praised the foundation for its commitment to helping children.
“It's a major deal,” Kaufman said. “It's just a great thing that they're doing.”
Mike Piper said the foundation is also working on a program to assist ill children staying at Good Samaritan Regional Health Center.
“We'd like to do something to make the children more comfortable in their stay,” Mike said. “We'd just like (Brian's) name to carry on.”
For more information on the Brian M. Piper Memorial Foundation, visit the group's Facebook page.