'Charleston Fishing Families' raising funds, donations for families of lost crab fishermen


    COOS BAY, Ore. -- The Coos County Sheriff's Office continues the search this week for the two missing fishermen who were aboard the Eagle III, a crabbing boat that crashed off the coast of Coos Bay last week.

    One crew member survived the crash, another did not.

    The Eagle III sank miles away from its home port in Port Orford but that hasn't stopped people in the bay area from stepping up to support the families of those who were on board, show the fishing community is truly 'coast-wide.'

    "The first post I put on Facebook was, 'It's all family, all the same,' and it really is," says Melissa Clemens with Charleston Fishing Families. "This whole community, up and down the coast, is family."

    Clemens has been a fisherman's wife for more than 20 years.

    "Unless you're in it or a part of it, you have absolutely no clue," she adds. "There's no way for people to understand what we go through. Not only what the guys go through and the girls that fish out there on the boats, but the families that are sitting at home, waiting for their husband to come across the bar that night."

    "It's just really important for us to come together and show support for the families because it could be any one of us one day," says Jackie chambers, who is also married to a fisherman.

    The two women are members of the Charleston Fishing Families.

    The group is putting on a rummage sale, bake sale and silent auction fundraiser at the Coquille Tribal Community Center this weekend.

    They say, in a matter of days, hundreds of dollars' worth of items were donated.

    "We thought this was going to be a little tiny yard sale and we were going to raise a couple hundred dollars and call it good," Clemens explains, "and it just ballooned into something so miraculous and amazing."

    Another community member, Catrina Clayholt, set up a GoFundMe account that raised more than $10,000 in just two days, money that will go directly to the families.

    "Most of the fishermen, with the delay in crab season this year, have not even had a paycheck until just last week," says Clemens, "so these men that went down ... there's not life insurance, there's nothing coming through like that."

    The fundraiser is next weekend (Feb. 6 & 7) from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.

    They'll be collecting donations for the rummage sale and silent auction all week.

    More information: https://www.facebook.com/events/1690577157822631/

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