Fishing tournament to help raise funds for Paulin

Mark Boggan will never forget the first time he met Joey Paulin.

“He had just woken up from a nap,” Boggan recalled. “His eyes danced all around. He just stole my heart away.”

Paulin, a 5-year-old Alabaster boy with Mitochondrial Encephalomyopathy, a rare and terminal illness that prevents Joey from walking, talking, sitting or standing, left quite an impression on Boggan.

Paulin’s situation left Boggan wanting to help out. In response, Boggan has organized the first annual Joey Paulin Caring Heart Bass Tournament. The tournament will be held at daylight Aug. 29 at Beeswax boat launch on Lay Lake.

Boggan learned about Paulin through his appearances on ABC 33/40 and newspaper articles about him in the Shelby County Reporter. Sondra Bole, a member of Our Lady of the Valley and the Ladies Auxiliary, told Boggan the Paulin family’s air-conditioning unit had quit working and the family was struggling to pay rising medical costs.

Boggan, who repairs air conditioners, offered to repair the unit free of charge. Boggan said he couldn’t stop there, knowing the family was in financial need.

Paulin is currently in the intensive care unit at Children’s Hospital after having intense seizures the past few days. Boggan said he hopes Paulin will recover in time to make an appearance Aug. 29 at Lay Lake.

Roseanna Paulin said she was touched by Boggan’s willingness to create the bass tournament.

“I was speechless,” Paulin said. “This is someone that hadn’t even known my family for 24 hours.”

Boggan said there is no boat limit for the tournament, which is sponsored by Airport Marine and Alabaster Optical.

“Whoever has a big heart and wants to come,” Boggan said. “I’ve never seen a more worthy cause.”

The entry fee for the tournament is $100, with 50 percent of the fee going toward Paulin’s medical fund. Door prizes will be awarded and money prizes will be given to the top-five finishers. There will be a $5 prize for the biggest fish caught during the tournament.

To register for the tournament, call Mark Boggan at 445-3826 or email fishing4joey@earthlink.net.