Photo courtesy of Ben Johnson. A photo of Christine and Ben Johnson, center, and their family.

Photo courtesy of Ben Johnson. A photo of Christine and Ben Johnson, center, and their family.

Drink a beer, save a friend

Local brewery helps raise money for suicide prevention

Ben Johnson lost his wife, Christine, when she took her own life in May 2018. Since then, he’s been trying to get the discussion around suicide out of the shadows with a yearly fundraiser.

That tragedy led to Brewmaster Taproom Owner Marley Rall, who knows Johnson, wanting to put on a benefit to support his family. Johnson said he didn’t want to raise money for his family and was more interested in supporting a local group that helps address suicide and mental health.

“Selfishly, it’s so less people have to go through what I had to go through, and less selfishly, it’s to save people’s lives,” Johnson said.

The group quickly put together the first auction at Brewmaster’s last year and was able to raise $6,000 for Crisis Connections, formerly known as Crisis Clinic, with an emphasis on serving people in King County who are in physical, emotional or financial crisis. Johnson said it was great to see so many people come together, and hear stories of how suicide affected them.

Johnson said one example is people who are struggling with these issues are afraid to talk to others, and that it’s important to engage with others.

“It’s the 10th highest cause of death in the U.S., but you would never know that from the coverage it gets and how people talk about it,” Johnson said. “It’s the same with mental health, there’s a stigma. We just want to be loud about it and say: ‘Hey, this is not a weakness and there’s people who can help you.’”

The auction night is free to attend, $1 from every pint will go to Crisis Connections. Folks can also participate in a raffle from noon to 8 p.m. and a silent auction from 5 to 8 p.m.

This year he hopes to raise even more for Crisis Connections, and in honor of Christine. The event is from noon to 11 p.m. on Sept. 28, at Brewmaster’s Taproom. Johnson said they have it near Christine’s birthday each year, Oct. 1.

“We lost somebody very important to us, and it was very unexpected. It means so much for us to, in some way, turn this really awful experience, and have some kind of positive outcome from it,” he said.

Crisis Connections has a 24-hour helpline at 866-427-4747.

More in News

Renton uses AI tech to listen in

A program called ZenCity is helping city officials respond to feedback

Photo by Haley Ausbun. Transcranial magnetic simulation (TMS) via Neurostar equipment is used to improve mental health, at a new Renton clinic from TMS national advocate Dr. Kalyan Dandala, pictured.
A helmet to protect you from depression?

New mental health treatment comes to Renton

Renton Rotary selects Youth of the Month for October

The award is given to students who have leadership abilities, maintain a good GPA and volunteer in the community.

A partnership to help students in need

Renton Innovation Zone Partnership begins its work in local schools

County begins to focus on Renton’s transit issues

Access to Transit study highlights needs for transportation, infrastructure

Renton man wins $1.1 million on $6 bet at Muckleshoot Casino

A departure from the usual has lead to a life-changing win for… Continue reading

K-9 tracks stabbing suspect

Renton police used K-9 tracking to arrest someone for allegedly assaulting another… Continue reading

Photo courtesy of Shooting Star Preschool and Childcare. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) with tots in the Renton Highlands after being presented with a song and big welcome card.
Murray hosts roundtables in Renton

The senator heard from local veterans and parents about needs

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Kim Schrier held a roundtable at the Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank on Oct. 3 to talk about the Trump administration’s plan to further change SNAP food benefits rules and reduce the number of people using them. Aaron Kunkler/staff photo
Murray, Schrier vow to fight White House restrictions on food stamps

Senator and Representative met Oct. 3 at Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank.

Most Read