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Paul Heckman of Marshalltown Receives $1,000 In Seed Money

Community Roots | November 28, 2022

Amy Feisel and Hannah Hedum from our Marshalltown branch recognized Paul Heckman of Marshalltown with $1,000 in cash as part of our on-going Seed Money campaign. This campaign helps Home Federal and its employees recognize the unsung heroes in the communities we serve.

Who is Paul Heckman?

Paul is a Korean War veteran who values helping others. After he returned from the war, he moved to Marshalltown to start a family, a career in construction, and his tenure as a life-long community volunteer.

Not only is Paul known for dedicating his time to making the lives of people around him better, but he is also known for his integrity. In Paul’s nomination submission from his daughter Diane Thomas, she shared with us that she admires that Paul recognizes and appreciates the respect he receives from people, and he always returns that respect because one never knows what someone else is going through.

What Makes Paul Heckman So Deserving?

Paul has been giving back to the community for more than 60 years – even after his time in the service. One of his biggest contributions to the community has been starting the Medical Equipment Loan Closet Program with his best friend Benny Blink (owner of Blink Electric Motors) in 1961. This program was designed to help people who are in need of medical equipment – from walkers to wheelchairs, crutches to canes, porta potties and more – but can’t afford or can’t wait to purchase their own. The program lends out equipment free of charge to individuals throughout Marshall county (regardless of if they’re a veteran or not), for as long as needed, and the individuals return the equipment once no longer in use.

While the available medical equipment has been kept at various locations throughout the years – including Paul’s garage – it is currently operated out of a storage shed at the American Legion Post #46 in Marshalltown, Iowa with the help of Paul’s fellow veterans and legion members. At 90 years old, Paul is still helping to operate this program even though he recently passed the keys onto his friend Dennis Richards to be the new point of contact for the Medical Equipment Loan Closet.

While this program has been time-intensive and a labor of love for Paul – even while he worked a full time job – he also took the time to volunteer with other organizations over the years. Some of his other roles include being the membership chairman and Commander at the Legion, keeping perfect attendance with the local Kiwanis Club, advocating for the well-being of residents as an ombudsman at the Southridge Nursing Home, being the guardian for several Iowa Veterans Home residents, and even played Santa for various organizations during the holidays. He’s also a Mason and has been very involved with his church. His daughter summed it up well in her nomination of Paul, “He was always saying ‘yup’ to anyone who asked him to do something. Never asking for anything in return.”

Where Did We Surprise Paul Heckman?

Paul regularly eats lunch at the legion, so it was easy for Amy Feisel, Branch Manager, and Hannah Hedum, Assistant Branch Manager, to surprise Paul with the $1,000 in cash. He was stunned as Hannah handed over the Seed Money. “I can’t believe this!” Paul exclaimed as he stared at the cash in his hand. “I gotta go to the bank!”

After the surprise, Amy read Paul’s daughter’s nomination letter to him. Even though she lives out of state and could not be there in person, Diane had helped coordinate the surprise with the manager of the Legion and family friend Vic Hellberg.

Vic has known Paul for many years and together they have been able to grow the program and its impact throughout the community. “I got to know Paul when I got out of the service back in 1971,” Vic shared before we surprised Paul. “I volunteered to have [the medical] equipment at our building downtown so Paul and I were moving equipment and loading his truck and working on that all the time. Now it’s back here [at the Legion]. He still does a lot of it from his home. I’m sure he’s going to be very excited and pleased to see that we’re all together and doing this for him.”

Why is Giving Back to the Community So Important?

Throughout Paul’s life, he has realized that everyone experiences their own problems, and it can be a heavy burden to carry them all by yourself. “It’s a funny life, it really is,” Paul explained. “We all have problems. Together we can get them worked out [but] individually it kills us. It’s important to help – it’s a must to help others.”

How Can You Help the Medical Supply Closet?

The Medical Equipment Closet loans out medical equipment free of charge to those who need it, and they will happily take donations of lightly used and sanitized medical equipment. Once they receive the donations, the supplies will be added to the list of available equipment for loan so when someone calls it can be lent out almost immediately. Vic brought up the point that some of the equipment has to be purchased, “There are some supplies that are furnished that cannot be reused. We do have to buy a few things – donations are accepted.” With that said, if you want to help the program restock supplies, monetary donations can be made at the Legion.

Home Federal Believes in “Giving Today to Help Grow Tomorrow”

Seed Money was created to help recognize and reward the local “do-gooders” going above and beyond in their communities and Paul is a well deserving recipient of the Seed Money reward and recognition. To help highlight all Paul does in the Marshalltown community, we recorded his Seed Money surprise and posted it to our YouTube channel. Feel free to view Paul’s video along with other recipients' footage, to see the full impact that Seed Money is providing to our communities.

“Today we surprised Paul Heckman with a $1,000 reward for all the work he has done (and still does!) to help others in Marshalltown and the surrounding areas by lending out medical equipment to those in need,” Amy explains. “We’re excited to reward him for the large impact he has made on the community.”

“Giving back to the community is so important to Home Federal,” Hannah highlights. “We were very happy to recognize Paul and his efforts today. Having Paul and his medical equipment program available in this community is just so awesome and we were happy we could shed some light on it.”

Seed Money is part of Home Federal’s Community Roots Initiative where the mission is to “Give Today to Help Grow Tomorrow” and we know Paul Heckman has made a large impact in the Marshalltown community which makes him well-deserving of Seed Money. 

We thank individuals, like Paul, for all you do in the communities we serve. See our other Seed Money stories and how we’re giving back by visiting our Seed Money page.

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