The U.S. Coast Guard opened the doors to its station, boats and helicopter Saturday to those interested in seeing how the organization works.

Throngs of people watched as the agency's helicopter hovered over the Chetco River, slowly lowered a metal basket and brought up a dummy from a Coast Guard boat below in a mock rescue.

Visitors andndash; 235 of them andndash; also got to see up-close the equipment used by the sheriff's department andndash; most all of which was donated or purchased with grant money andndash; Brookings Police, the Brookings and Harbor volunteer fire departments, the Coast Guard Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety of Columbia River and Group/Air Station of North Bend.

"It was a pretty good for a first year," said Coast Guard BMC Bruce Day. "We'll do it again if we continue to get good feedback and people willing to come and check us out."

The inaugural open house event also collected about 60 pounds of food for the Brookings-Harbor Community Helpers food bank.