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COOS BAY — The Hydrant beer is back at 7 Devils Brewery to raise money for the local Professional Firefighter's Association.

Last year when the partnership between brewery owner Carmen Matthews and the association began, the fundraiser brought in $2,000 for both the Coos Bay and North Bend associations and the Jeff Common Foundation.

“We’re partnering to brew a special beer for the firefighter association to bring attention to their programs,” Matthews said.

The Hydrant Release Party was Friday night in the 7 Devils parking lot where firefighters were on hand to pour the summer beer. Matthews described it as a wheat beer that is light and refreshing.

During the Friday party, 100 percent of the sales went to the association. After that, a dollar of every pint sold goes to the association until the beer is gone.

“We brewed a 15 barrel batch, which is approximately 500 gallons,” Matthews said. “That usually lasts for a month and a half.”

Rick Cooper is the president of the North Bend Professional Firefighter Association, where the programs being supported by the fundraiser include the August backpack program for children returning to school.

Last year, the fundraiser helped support the Kids for Christmas program.

“It was pretty special last year because my family was notified a week before Christmas of a family whose father passed and weren’t going to have a very good holiday,” Cooper said. “We partnered with the North Bend Volunteer Association and Kids for Christmas to give this family turkey, ham, everything they needed, including gifts for kids. Hats off to (Matthews) for doing this fundraiser.”

Gabe Oullette is a professional firefighter with the Coos Bay Firefighter Association and explained that the programs being supported by the fundraiser include the Bus Jam event during the Christmas season, as well as the family Christmas movie at the Egyptian Theater where families attend for free. Families also get free popcorn and soda, and can participate in a raffle for gifts and prizes.

The fundraiser with 7 Devils is also going to help double charitable efforts to give back to local sports teams and club functions at the Coos Bay School District.

The fundraiser is also helping the Jeff Common Foundation, which was established after local firefighters were killed at the Far West Fire of November 25, 2002. The foundation was named after one of the firefighters lost in the tragedy, formed as a way to provide educational scholarships to not just students attending college but to bring in quality speakers so agencies in the county get the same message on firefighter safety.

“This way, we can ensure we don’t get another tragedy like that,” said Jim Aldrich with the foundation.

During last year’s fundraiser with 7 Devils, firefighters from around the state traveled to Coos Bay to buy the Hydrant beer. Cooper has heard from people excited to make the trip again.

“We wouldn’t be able to do this without Carmen and his wife doing this kind of stuff,” Cooper said. “It takes a village.”

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Reporter Jillian Ward can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 235, or by email at jillian.ward@theworldlink.com. Follow her on Twitter: @JE_Wardwriter.

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