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'Charleston Fishing Families' steps up in times of tragedy

CHARLESTON, Ore. -- It's been a year since the south coast was hit with multiple boating fatalities.

While remembering the lives lost, a support group is reminding the boating community of the help they can offer.

Thursday marked the one year since the Eagle III, a crabbing vessel, capsized at the mouth of Coos Bay.

Joshua Paulus, Danny Matlock, and Blain Steinmetz lost their lives that day.

A week after the Eagle III went down, the Sara Jo capsized at the bar, killing Raymundo Cardoso.

In March of 2016, the Patty AJ went down and captain Jerry Barkley lost his life.

In the wake of those tragedies, folks in the fishing community saw a need for a support group.

A nonprofit called Charleston Fishing Families was formed.

"We haven't been official for too long but we've already started to do good things,” said Charleston Fishing Families president Jackie Chambers. “I wish that the outcome of the group hadn't have come from tragedy, but that's just the direction that it took and I'm happy that we're here today, able to help in tough times."

Charleston Fishing Families offers a relief fund for those in the fishing community that face financial hardship or tragedy, but the group offers more than financial support; they also offer moral support.

"We get Facebook messages from people who, even from this year, there's been a couple accidents not here but in other ports, and they've messaged us, ‘how do you get through this tough time”’ Chambers explained. “Just being able to offer encouragement has been really positive."

Members of the community can donate to the Fishermen's Relief Fund by buying a crab pot tag and attaching it to a net at Englund Marine.

For more information about the group, visit their Facebook page or meet them in person at their public meeting this Saturday from 1-3 p.m. at the Charleston RV Park.

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