The Coast Guard may be suspending its search and rescue efforts, but Jupiter isn’t giving up hope on finding missing boaters Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen.
A #FindAustinandPerry fundraiser at the Square Grouper Tiki Bar is set to go on as planned Friday night. The money raised will go toward funding private rescue efforts for the two Tequesta teens who never returned from a fishing trip on July 24.
The event, which is open to guests 21 and older, will be held from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Donations will be taken at the door.
Organizer Julianne Johnson said the Coast Guard’s latest announcement that it will suspend search efforts at sunset Friday didn’t have an impact on the plans for the event. She said the Jupiter community has been great throughout the past week, and she wanted to provide a supportive environment for family, friends and neighbors of the boys.
“We just wanted to get a place for everyone together,” she said.
Nearly 1,000 people have RSVP’d to the event on Facebook.
A GoFundMe page set up to raise money for private search efforts has already surpassed $335,000 in donations.
On Friday afternoon, the families of the teens released a statement thanking the Coast Guard and government agencies for their work. They said they will continue to more forward with the help of volunteers.
“Our families are committed to continue the search and rescue efforts of our boys with the aid of volunteer pilots and aircraft,” the statement reads. “We have established ‘The Perry & Austin Rescue Fund‘ which will continue to be utilized to fund private aircraft, boat fuel and any other additional resources needed for the immediate recovery of our missing boys.”
Square Grouper Tiki Bar; 1111 Love St., Jupiter