Brendan Yu
Curry Coastal Pilot

Volunteers thanked firefighters, emergency crews, Oregon National Guard members and first responders battling the Chetco Bar Fire with a free crab and tri-tip feed Sunday at Brookings-Harbor High School.

Approximately 500 pounds of crab and 125 pounds of tri-tip were available, and the first 200 meals for firefighters were free thanks to donations from businesses and individual families.

Firefighters were also treated to salad, mashed potatoes and a variety of desserts, including apple pie and raspberry cheesecake.

Volunteers helping out at the feed included community members and athletes from the high school’s basketball teams.

According to event co-organizer Alice Farmer, more than 100 meals were served to firefighters, some of whom came from Colorado, New Mexico and Missouri.

Firefighters who had no experience with eating crab received lessons from the student athletes.

“They didn’t know how to break apart the joints and use it as a picking tool,” Farmer said. “So some of the boys and girls basketball players had to give them a lesson.”

Glenn Segal, the crew boss of a 20-person handcrew, said this was the first time he had ever seen a community host a “thank you” dinner in his 17 years on the job.

“It was amazing, everything was perfect and crab was a treat,” Segal said. “Awesome.”

He also appreciated the “thank you” signs around town and community barbecues for volunteers and evacuees.

“There’s been a lot of support, I felt it not just in this dinner, but in a lot of different ways,” Segal said. “People in town, the signs, and every house has a sign on it, just the warmth of the people here. It’s like the only time I’ve felt this type of support from the local community.”

Brookings-Harbor Athletic Director Buell Gonzales Jr. was not surprised to hear that the community dinner was a first for Segal.

“Stuff like this just happens. I’m not surprised; our community’s like that,” Gonzales said. “You don’t have to look far to find good people (doing) good things, and when you have (something), you give to those that don’t. If we’re not doing laundry for the firefighters, we’re cooking for the firefighters, we’re transporting them or we’re housing them.”

He added, “We know they get aid, we know they eat right, they’re fed and they get lot of food. But what I’ve been told is that it feels good, it makes it easier to do the things you need to do when you’re a firefighter.”

Gonzales said the idea for Sunday’s dinner was first suggested by Brookings resident Daryn Farmer two weeks ago while brainstorming ways to give back to the firefighters.

“We were talking about how cool it would be to put something like that together,” Gonzales said. “A lot of these people that are around here that come into fight fires, they don’t live by the ocean where they get fresh crab, so we were thinking that would be pretty cool. Not everybody likes crab, but we thought the tri-tip might be good.

“It’s pretty easy for us as a community to put together a feed like this because we have good people that work hard in the community.”