Kevin Heyen, vice president of development and industry relations, stepped behind the bar in his hometown to support the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA).

Kevin’s celebrity bartender stint on March 24 was an example of the creative ways the PHA community can raise money to support pulmonary hypertension (PH) research and awareness. See other ideas here.

Pierpont General Store in Columbia, Missouri, regularly partners with local nonprofit leaders to host “celebrity bartender” nights. On those nights, tips to the celebrity bartenders go to their nonprofit organizations.

“I saw on social media that they were doing celebrity bartender events to raise awareness and funding for non-profits, so I asked if I could have one for PHA,” Kevin says.

Pierpont is at the entrance to Rock Bridge Memorial State Park, where Kevin regularly hikes with his dog Walter. The miles-long Devil’s Icebox Cave goes under the historic general store. A few years ago, Pierpont, which means Rock Bridge in French, added a bar, expanded its outdoor seating and built an outdoor stage for live music. “All that, and you can still get gas there too,” says Kevin, who often stops for a drink on Friday evenings after his hikes with Walter.

“Unfortunately the weather was awful the evening I bartended, and most of the seating is outside. So the crowd wasn’t as large as I had hoped.”

Despite the smaller turnout, patrons had a lot of questions about PH and PHA, which Kevin was happy to answer.

While chatting with customers, Kevin had to concentrate on filling orders.

“I had never bartended in my life, and surprisingly, one of the most challenging things was properly pouring a craft beer without it foaming over,” he says. “The mass produced beers were much easier.”

His most difficult customer? “My 13-year-old son Peter ordered several Shirley Temples and always asked for extra grenadine.”

Event organizers are still tabulating how much Kevin raised, but you can still contribute to his fundraiser online.

“I had a great time connecting with my community while promoting pulmonary hypertension awareness,” Kevin says.

Inspired by Kevin? Join a PHA fundraiser, or email us about hosting your own event.