After the Homer Mariners hockey team faced Bartlett on Nov. 4, four players did more than just get some food after the game.
Team captain Charlie Menke, Douglas Dean, Tucker Weston and his little brother Phinny Weston were walking across Benson Boulevard in Anchorage when they came across a homeless man bleeding profusely from his hand.
They immediately began talking to him, and the man, who was clearly intoxicated, told the boys he had been robbed at a nearby Fred Meyers. Menke says they wanted to make sure he was able to get help.
“Pretty much we just asked him what he was going to do or if he had any way of getting help. He was just incoherent, and he didn’t even really realize how bad it was until we started talking to him,” Menke said. “Then as we were walking with him, that’s when he realized more and more it was hurting him a lot.”
The boys called head coach Chance Rocket, who was eating across the street, as they walked the man to Qdoba.
“At first you’re making sure they are ok, but at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about,” Rocket said. “Not everyone is going to go on and play hockey at a professional level. So, what you try to teach is the day-to-day life things and do well in school, be a good person, treat people with respect.”
Menke bandaged the man’s hand, which was cut down to the bone, with the restaurant’s first-aid kit, and the others called 911. Assistant coach Steve Nevak joined them a few minutes later.
They made sure the man stayed conscious until EMTs arrived. Menke says several people gave them strange looks as they helped the man, but he says it just seemed like the right thing to do.
“To me and to like all four of us, it doesn’t seem like it was that courageous or that big of a deal to do,” Menke explained. “Because to us it seemed like the simple, obvious solution, but looking back on it, it’s cool to know that we helped him.”
Nevak, who worked at the Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage for several years, said in a press release that he was proud that the boys did not just pass the man by and treated him like a human being. Both coaches say the players’ actions represent Homer well.