Benefit for Pete Karpen is Saturday at 2nd Street DepotFor dozens of years, bargoers in Hastings often bumped into the same man behind the grill. The man in white, wielding a spatula, was often Pete Karpen.
By: Chad Richardson, The Hastings Star-Gazette
For dozens of years, bargoers in Hastings often bumped into the same man behind the grill. The man in white, wielding a spatula, was often Pete Karpen.
The 1972 graduate of Hastings High School is a lifelong resident here and even owned his own bar for a few years in the late 1990s, Karpen’s Kabaret.
Now, though, Karpen is facing tough times after a number of health challenges earlier this year.
It all started March 9 when Karpen had a stroke, which caused him to lose depth perception.
Just a month later, on April 11, Karpen had another major scare, this time while he was shopping with his daughter, Melissa, at Walmart. He fell over from what is known as bradycardia – his brain wasn’t telling his heart to keep beating. Karpen was rushed to the emergency room, and a pacemaker was put in two hours later to prevent that from happening again.
It all happened again May 10, his birthday, when he was at Coborn’s with Melissa. He was stocking up on food for his birthday, and he had another stroke. He was in the hospital for five days following the stroke.
“It was a bad spring,” the understated Karpen said. “(Melissa) is quite leary of going shopping with her dad. She was with me twice when I went over.”
Recently, Karpen had been working as a dispatch supervisor for a cable company. The health problems, though, forced him to retire. Now he’s looking for work again and isn’t having much luck.
“I’m not doing very well (in my job search),” he said. “I get a lot of ‘Thank you for sending in your resume, but at this time …’
“I thought I’d be back working by now.”
Complicating matters is the toll that the health problems have taken on the 58-year-old Karpen. He was color blind before, but the strokes have made it even worse, he said. He’s lacking energy, too.
“I don’t have the energy to do anything,” he said. “You go from 50 to 60 hours of work a week to nothing. It really stinks.”
Karpen said he is steadily improving. His eyes are improving, he said, including his peripheral vision.
Karpen had a number of roles at Hastings-area restaurants. Among the establishments he worked at are Karpen’s Kabaret, the Bierstube, the American Legion and Philander’s in Prescott.
“I really miss that business,” Karpen said. “That is a great business. You might have one crab for the whole evening, but all the other wonderful people, it’s just so rewarding. I just love the people. I’m kind of that way – a people person.”
With the bills piling up, and Karpen not being able to work, his friends and relatives have pitched in to organize a benefit in his honor. The benefit, called For Pete’s Sake, is set for this Saturday, Nov. 10, at the 2nd Street Depot in downtown Hastings.
The benefit will run from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. and will include live music, food, a silent auction and beer specials.
“I’m very humbled by it,” Karpen said of the benefit. “It’s kind of embarrassing that you need help. I expected to be working, but I just can’t do it. I have such great friends. I never suggested a thing.”
Karpen is married to Cynthia, and the couple has three children – Melissa, Meghan and Nick.
For more information, write firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.facebook.com/ partyforpete.
Donations are sought for the silent auction. Anyone with donations is asked to send an email to petekarpenbenefit @gmail.com.