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Members and supporters of the St. Louis Balloon Brigade were on hand at Meyer's Grove in the Grove on Tuesday for the presentation of a $3,200 donation to PAWS St. Louis.


The money - which included a $100 corporate gift from Crown Plaza - was raised by Brigade members at St. Charles Pride, St. Louis PrideFest, and at a special screening of the movie Inside Out at the Hi-Pointe organized by their youngest member, 8-year-old Jo Jo.


The Balloon Brigade is the brainchild of Terry Laupp and his husband Chad Carroll - community champions and owners of the Mr. Missouri Leather contest. The duo saw pictures online and figured out how to recreate the intricate balloon wraps for a cruise they were on in 2008. The response was immediate and the next year they debuted in the St. Louis Pride Parade.


"It's just something we do, we have fun with it," says Carroll.


The Brigade or “Balloon Gods” immediately became one of the most photographed personalities at Pride and quickly realized the fundraising potential for a charity near to their hearts if they requested donations for the photo ops.


Pets Are Wonderful Support or PAWS is the only program of its kind in St. Louis; providing pet food and veterinary care for the pets of clients who are living with HIV/AIDS. By providing this support, people with a chronic and often debilitating illness are able to keep their pets at home as long as possible. PAWS helps maintain a lasting connection between client and pets.


The St. Louis Balloon Brigade have been the winners of "Best Overall Parade Entry" at the Wells Fargo St. Louis Pride Parade two years running. Ellen Vanscoy, Pride St. Louis Parade Director, was on hand on Tuesday to present the Brigade with the 2015 Award.

 

#Boom is a proud media sponsor of two upcoming PAWS fundrasiers - Art of PAWS on Aug. 8 at Gallery 400 - and Thirst for Life on Aug. 27 at a watering hole near you! 

 

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