It was a Saturday afternoon in 2004 when Paul Klink suffered a heart attack while volunteering at the Sony Open. Klink’s assignment, along with another volunteer, was to type furiously into a computer database details that track the golfballs’ movement. These statistics are sent in real time to sports television network ESPN.
“I was feeling uncomfortable, so I went walking around,” Klink recalls. When he went to the viewing station, he started getting sick, so someone called an ambulance for him. Klink credits all the volunteers, staff and security guards for getting him as much help as they could.
That episode was Klink’s second heart attack; he had one in December 2002. After each attack he had said goodbye to the light of his life, his son Leo (pictured above), who is now 11 years old attending Kaimuki Intermediate School. But both times Klink was saved by surgery.
“I nearly died, but I came back so my son would have a father,” says Klink.
For the Sony Open 2006, Klink returned gallantly to volunteer as a greeter to welcome everyone at the main gate.
“They were so excited to see me,” remembers Klink, one of the 1,500 dedicated volunteers who are a vital part of running the annual tournament.
He’s been volunteering for the Sony Open on and off since it was called the Hawaiian Open in the 1980s. The Diamond Head resident, who moved to Hawaii from Auburn, N.Y., in 1985, explains what he likes about volunteering.
“The ohana,” he says. “Everyone is in it to put service above self. There is such a sense of community. And with Friends of Hawaii Charities, you are giving back to the people who need it.”
The jovial volunteer says he lost himself to find himself - he trimmed down from 310 pounds to 175. Another accomplishment, Klink says, is the surprise he gave to himself when he actually crossed the finish line of the 2006 Honolulu Marathon in 8:29:20.
From a link on the website www.Hawaiian.com, the 41-year-old fills requests daily for the “Live Aloha” stickers he created. The retired business executive continues posting his opinions on movies on reviewedmovies.com - something he’s done since 1999.
If you plan to attend the Sony Open Jan. 8-14 at the Waialae Country Club, be sure to say hello to Klink, as he’ll be back once again as a greeter at the main gate.
- Linda Dela Cruz
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