Trust grants Scouts $20,000

The Columbia Police Department also received money for a thermal vision camera.
Sunday, February 22, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 5:07 p.m. CDT, Friday, June 27, 2008

The Columbia Police Department and the Great Rivers Council Boy Scouts of America are the most recent beneficiaries of the Stafford Family Charitable Trust.

The trust gave $20,000 to the Scouting group for a camp ranger residence at Camp Thunderbird in Cairo, Mo.

The group operates two camps. The Cairo home had fallen into disrepair.

“We need for our camp ranger to be on site full time,” said David Noll, finance director of the Scout group.

The organization started a campaign about a year ago to raise money to demolish the old home and to build a new one. The home already has been demolished, but the group still needs money to fund the new construction.

Noll said the funds will help the group complete the project sooner.

The trust also gave $6,000 to the Columbia Police Foundation for a thermal vision camera for the Operation Lookout program. Operation Lookout notifies police officers and television and radio stations when missing children are reported.

The thermal cameras detect body heat, allowing police to locate missing people or suspects, Officer Steve Rios said.

“If we respond quickly, we can read a footprint or a hand print,” Rios said. He also said the camera would make it easier to monitor a large area such as an open field.

The trust has distributed almost $930,000 since 1989, and $66,685 in 2003 alone, to local charitable groups. J.W. “Stan” Stafford and the late Lois Smith Stafford, former owners of Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company of Columbia Inc., created the trust to show their appreciation for more than 60 years of customer support.

A gift selection committee reviews about 10 to 30 requests from tax-exempt charitable groups in mid-Missouri for amounts ranging from about $500 to $100,000, said trust officer Elizabeth Echols.

The committee considers requests in February and August. Funds are not intended to provide operating expenses but rather to finance capital expenditures.

“It helps these organizations to fulfill their missions,” Echols said.

People wanting to request assistance from the trust should contact Elizabeth Echols at First National Bank & Trust Co., 801 E. Broadway, Columbia, Mo., 65201.

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