Paul Hecht has touched a lot of lives, young and old on the Kenai Peninsula. Whether behind an umpires mask or volunteering for youth or senior citizen activities, Paul has a knack for helping people feel like they are at a party.
The guy whose favorite quote was, "In Alaska you gotta' be tough," contradicted himself by always lending a helping hand to make life easier for others. Recently Hecht has been in a tough-guys battle with cancer, incurring many unforeseen medical expenses, so Soldotna Mayor David Carey and a handful of volunteers decided to throw a benefit for Paul and his wife Sandy, "Just for the Hecht of it."
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Last week several hundred friends and supporters turned out for a steak dinner and auction at the Elks Lodge in Ridgeway. Paul and Sandy were able to show up prior to leaving for treatment in Seattle and shared hugs and laughs of appreciation. Paul even joined the band Bull Don and the Moose Nuggets for a rendition of the old rock song, "Tequila." "I e-mailed Paul the lyrics to this song and gave him all week to learn it," joked Don.
By the time the music had stopped and impromptu auctioneer Larry VanRay had sung his last "Sold-it," the event had raised over $12,000 to benefit the Hecht's. "I just love this community, and I truly want to thank everyone that turned out and contributed, it was an awesome time," said Carey. An account remains open at the First National Bank of Alaska in Hecht's name for anyone wishing to contribute.
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