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Dedication: Musicians gather to celebrate Paulie Gecko’s life, raise funds for son

September 12, 2012
By MEGHAN McCOY ( , Pine Island Eagle

Continuous crowds poured into the Olde Fish House Marina all Sunday afternoon to celebrate Paulie's life, a local musician, along with raising funds for his 8-year-old son Dalton during the Paulie Palooza Benefit.

Musician and father Paul "Paulie Gecko" Honcharenko passed away unexpectedly Aug. 2, in his sleep, due to sleep apnea. He was born July 8, 1971. A benefit was put together to honor Paulie, along with raising funds for his son Dalton, 8, a third grader at Pine Island Elementary School.

Adam Mac, who helped set up the benefit, said all the music was donated by local musicians.

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Cindy & Marshall were the first band to take the stage at the Paulie Palooza Benefit Sunday afternoon at the Olde Fish House Marine to raise money for Dalton.

Nine bands, which included Cindy & Marshall, Damn Outlaws, William Metts & David Hinz, Frank Rizzo (Windowpane) & the Boys, Rudy Cox and Preston Hamilton P&R Project, Morning Wood Blues, Soap Box & Southbound, Strange Arrangement and 10,000 views, played throughout the day from noon until 9 p.m. for 40 minutes.

The final song of the night, which was played at 9 p.m. was "Wish You Were Here" by Pink Floyd.

A 20-minute stand up comedy act was held while the following band set up for their performances throughout the day as well.

Damian Semon, of Comedy for the Cure, invited comedians to take part in the benefit Sunday, which included Joseph "Joker" Barnett. He said he heard about the benefit through Mac and wanted to give his time.

"All of my comedy shows I do for a benefit," Semon said, which he has been doing for the last two and a half to three years.

He said he likes to do the benefits because he likes to see that the money raised is donated to the individual or family.

Mac said he first met Paulie through Grady Stafford. Whenever he needed a great guitar player to fill in, Mac said he would call Paulie and have him play, which occurred on and off for eight years.

One of Mac's fondest memories with Paulie occurred when they went to Boot Hill at Daytona Beach for bike week. He said they stayed in the band house and had a great weekend.

"It's really nice to see everyone out and having a good time," Mac said Sunday.

He said Paulie would have loved the benefit and most likely would have been up on the stage in the middle of everything.

A surprise was made to Carolyn Kimes, Paulie's mother, during the event Sunday afternoon by Jan Green and Butch Waring. The winning team of their annual Labor Day golf scramble decided to chose the Dalton Honcharenko Memorial Fund as the charity that would receive the donation this year, which was $1,500.

Tears instantly filled Kimes eyes, along with her friends and family members, while hugs were given once Green learned of their generous donation.

"It takes my breath away," Kimes said. "I miss Paulie a lot, then something like this happens and I say wow."

She said if Paulie were among them Sunday he would have been right up there on the stage playing along with all the other musicians.

"Whenever Paulie played you felt it, he had a soul for music," Kimes said.

Her son's love for music began at a young age when he began playing guitar at 13. The musician, who lived on the island for 22 years, arrived in Florida when he was 17.

While Paulie was alive, she said he played at a lot of benefits.

"Here's Paulie reaching down and helping Dalton even when he's not here," Kimes said of the benefit.

Joni Prose was also among the crowd Sunday afternoon. She said she first met Paulie in Port Charlotte at a show of his with her sister.

"We were drawn together, we kind of completed each other," Prose said. "Definitely the love of my life."

She explained Paulie to be the absolute best, someone she truly misses.

"He was an extraordinary human being," Prose said.

A silent auction, raffles and a 50/50 were also held during the event, along with the ability to purchase an abundance of food, which was all to be donated to Dalton.

Mac said he would like to thank Jackie Whiteiten, Laura Garrison, Lisa Reece and the Olde Fish House.

A Dalton Honcharenko Memorial Fund has been set up at Busey Bank in Cape Coral for those who wish to donate to the family.

The bank is at 2524 Del Prado Blvd., South.

A benefit is in the planning stages for Paulie in Port Charlotte.



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