Fresno Grizzlies host benefit game to raise funds for families of fallen firefighters

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Hundreds of people walked through the gates of Chukchansi Park Friday night, handing over tickets for the benefit game honoring two first responders killed in the Ferguson Fire.

CAL FIRE Firefighter Braden Varney and arrowhead hot shots Brian Hughes died while battling the blaze.

To pay tribute to both men, the Grizzlies partnered with a local downtown Fresno law firm and made it to where $5 from each ticket purchased went directly to their families.

"We could not let our season end without doing something. We have the platform here to be able to help and raise a good amount of money in a short amount of time," said Fresno Grizzlies Paul Braverman.

As two engine ladder trucks raised the American flag near left field, loved ones of Varney and Hughes took the mound.

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Several special touches to honor all firefighters have been planned.

Throwing out the first pitch for the game was Varney's sister and Hughes' former crew member Jared Arciniega.

"The boys kept saying, 'don't mess it up, man.' I said alright, I hit square in the chest is did it for Brian that's for sure," said Arciniega.

Support Fresno County Firefighter Nick Reeder understands. Back in April, his wife died after delivering their twins.

He came out on this special evening because he knows how hard it is to deal with a sudden and tragic loss.

"When you are supported by the families and the communities you want to give back to that support because you know how important that is," said Reeder.
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