When Montauk lobsterman Robert Huser's cancer returned, he was too proud to accept help, but the Montauk community has finally convinced him otherwise.
Now home-bound, he's been unable to work since last summer, according to his daughter, Dawn Huser Field.
Although reluctant at first, Huser, a lobster fisherman for more than 40 years, has agreed to let charitable foundations and friends organize a fundraiser at , which is set for Saturday from 2 to 6 p.m. There will be a silent auction, food from local restaurants, music, a cash bar and more. Tickets are $20 a person.
The benefit is being supported by the Ladies Auxiliary, the , the Montauk Fishermen’s Association, and the East End Foundation.
During his first bout with colon cancer three years ago and despite two surgeries and chemotherapy, Huser was able to get out on his boat, Top Notch, when he could, his family said.
This time around, at age 68, the colon cancer has moved into his liver and kidney, leaving him in pain and causing him to miss the water.
The community has hounded the family, which includes his wife, Sandy, three daughters, his grandchildren and two great grandchildren, to help.
“It was no secret that my dad hasn't been out lobstering in quite a while, knowing that this is how he made a living, the Montauk community rallied together and decided to have this benefit to help raise money to offset their bills," Dawn said.
Roger Feit, director of East End Foundation, said his group organizes and coordinates with local businesses and others who want to help. They will fundraise for anyone in the community. He interviewed the Husers six months ago as candidates for help, but Huser refused. He said they slowly convinced him about a month ago.
Huser has made a huge impression on the fishing community. Dave Aripotch, a younger fisherman who has known him for 30 years, said: “He has been influential to me as a teacher. Any young guy would tell you that.”
Fellow fisherman and friend Vinnny Carillo visits him every week. “He is a hard working, old school, proud man. He is unassuming and dedicated to fishing,” he said.
For his family, it's been hard to not to see him out on the boat doing what he loves, his daughter said. “From the time when I was a little girl I remember him being up and out of the house before the sun rose and then he worked all day on the water.”
She said it makes her proud to be apart of the Montauk community. “Everyone that hears about my dad offers to help in any possible way.”