Last Thursday marked the end of the Fire Chief Ale benefit at in Campbell, a four-week fundraiser where a percentage of beer sales were donated to restore a piece of Campbell’s history—Rescue 25.
Rescue 25 is the original 1974 custom cab Chevrolet used by founding members of Campbell’s first firefighter paramedic team in 1974.
“It was a hugely successful event, and we are so grateful to Rock Bottom for their generosity,” said Karen Lange, director and curator of Campbell’s Historical Museum and Ainsley House.
The month-long benefit consisted of an opening and closing event where for one hour all of the proceeds from purchasing $1.25 Fire Chief Ale were donated to the Rescue 25 project, with an additional 25¢ for every purchase of the ale throughout the month of March.
“We needed to hit $5,000, and Bennett Ponder, [general manager at Rock Bottom Brewery] guaranteed we reached a figure well over that,” said Fred Van Hook, a Friends of Rescue 25 organizer and an original member of the pioneering paramedic team in Campbell.
With support of Ponder, co-sponsors of the Rescue 25 restoration project, Friends of Rescue 25 and Campbell’s Historical Museum were able to raise $6,700 from the benefit, Van Hook said.
“It’s taken us longer than we thought,” Van Hook said, referring to the project’s $15,000 goal they originally expected to reach within a year. “If it weren’t for the brewery, we would still be fundraising,” Van Hook said. “They saved us a whole lot of time.”
Ponder has made giving back to the community part of his business model, he said, and will write the Rescue 25 project a $5,000 check—the amount needed to begin the restoration process, said Van Hook.
Now that the project has met their goal, a three-stage restoration process is set to begin in July, which includes body, interior and detail work. Van Hook hopes to present the restored vehicle to the city around Christmas time, he said.
“We’re hoping that once Rescue 25 is restored to use some of its cabinet space to display exhibits from Campbell’s paramedic collection,” Lange said.
Rescue 25 will be housed at a Campbell fire station and used as a tool to help teach children about fire safety.