Blog Post: Coos County’s Rapid Response

Orange skies descended on downtown Coos Bay on the afternoon of Tuesday, September 7th. We were hosting the season’s one and only concert, a band ironically named St. Cinder. Less than 24 hours later we would receive word that Christiana Plews, Chief of the Upper McKenzie Rural Fire Department and sister to 7 Devils owner Carmen Matthews, had just lost her home while fighting the Holiday Ranch Fire. Further, the department itself lost its station, a fire engine, and the homes and vehicles of another 6 fire-fighters. You can read her story here. Feeling remote and helpless, we threw together a rapid-response fundraiser to help the Upper McKenzie FD, which helped spark a Coos County multi-partnered relief effort for fire victims across Oregon. It quickly became evident that when neighbors are in need, Coos County rises!

The Response

  • Over the weekend 7 Devils raised $1,350 for the Upper McKenzie Fire Department by donating 50% of the sales of growler and bomber fills and tuna melts.
  • Patrons also donated an additional $4,600 in cash, half of which was donated to a fire fund benefiting families who lost their homes in the Talent and Phoenix areas, and the other half went to the Upper McKenzie Fire Department
  • 7 Devils, Rogue Climate, United Way, K-DOCK, and the Coos County First Student collaborated to accept and distribute material goods donated by members of our community. The result was two entire school buses and 4 U-Haul loads of essential supplies for families displaced by the fires!
  • First Student volunteered the use of two buses for the donation drive, and delivered the goods to a relief center in Eagle Point.
  • Gibs RV donated the use of two large camp trailers to the Upper McKenzie Fire Department to house the now-homeless firefighters while they continue to fight the blaze. They even DELIVERED the trailers, an 11 hour round trip drive. We were able to pack them with goods (food, water, bedding, camp gear) to be distributed to families who lost their homes in the Holiday Farm fire.
  • Dozens of volunteers helped accept, sort, and deliver materials goods throughout the weekend. Sarah Leahy herself rented a U-Haul and made 3 delivery trips to the Talent and Phoenix areas.
  • Local businesses donated supplies and support:
    • Gibs RV: TWO camper trailers for fire fighter housing
    • American Mattress donated 12 twin sized mattresses
    • Grocery Outlet: food and snacks
    • Coos Head Food Store: volunteers and volunteer support
    • United Way of Southern Oregon: volunteer, organization, and good storage
    • Darin O’Bryan Dentistry: financial support
  • Hundreds of Coos County Residents poured in with donations of camp gear, personal hygiene items, baby-care supplies, pet food, animal carriers, food, water, bedding, and clothing for those who lost their homes in the fire.

Check out some of the photos!