St. Albans brewery gives 'Tribute' to former Guard member

Published: Nov. 11, 2019 at 6:26 PM EST
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A veteran-owned brewery in St. Albans is honoring a Vermont soldier who died after he got home from war.

Vermont National Guard Sergeant Major Mike Cram served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, but he died from prostate cancer, likely caused by toxins released from burn pits -- massive, open-air trash fires in war zones.

Monday night, 14th Star Brewing is releasing a new can -- Tribute -- to honor Mike Cram and his service. According to his wife, it was Cram's favorite beer at 14th Star. It has the number 919 on it. That was his badge number with the Winooski Police Department, where he served as a lieutenant for 14 years.

The brewery created 960 new cans for the tribute. All of the proceeds will go to the 919 Foundation, which is an organization Cram and his wife, Pat, started just months before he died in December 2017. Pat says they used the money from his insurance policy with the Winooski Police to create the foundation, which supports children battling cancer by helping them attend Camp Ta-Kum-Ta for a week.

"It gave him such life, the last couple of months that he was living, to know that he was going to in some small way support these kids and to be able to give them that week at camp, just being a child and playing and not be that child with cancer," Pat Cram said.

Monday's event was only open to members of the military and first responders. If you're a service member or first responder, you can stop by until 8 p.m. Monday to join in on the event.