Pastor, church working to help local muralist battling cancer

A local pastor and his church is seeking help in getting new flooring and carpet for a muralist who is battling cancer.

Port Orchard resident Rich Washek paints a mural on a wall. The local muralist is suffering from cancer and a local church is assisting him during his treatment.

Port Orchard resident Rich Washek paints a mural on a wall. The local muralist is suffering from cancer and a local church is assisting him during his treatment.

A local pastor and his church is seeking help in getting new flooring and carpet for a muralist who is battling cancer.

According to Tim Blair, pastor of Ekklesia Church, Rich Washek has been battling throat cancer. He took his first chemotherapy in June 2013.

“He was recovering from the cancer and got a clean bill of health several months ago, but it came back again,” Blair said. “He’s taking chemotherapy right now and he’s really weak.”

Blair said his church’s congregation has worked on Washbek’s home on Mitchell Road on several occasions inside and out.

“Rich is such a neat guy,” Blair said. “We have been working with him for several years with helping him out. He’s really struggling right now.”

Blair said Washek’s needs new flooring throughout his house, preferably laminate.

“The cat makes carpet less desirable,” said Blair, who is hoping to get a carpet or flooring company to donate to the project.

“We are in the beginning stages of talking to people about it,” he said. “This would be a great project to bless him.”

Washek, 56, has produced many large murals during his career, including some of the large murals on buildings in downtown Port Orchard.

Blair said the last major mural Washek completed was a “Paint the Town” project — sponsored by Home Depot — in September 2012 in Pittsburgh, for a large bridge underpass.

Blair said Washek has not eaten solid food for nearly two years.

“Doctors put a port in his body where they can pour liquid nutrition into his stomach,” Blair said. “But over the past several months he’s had a little bit of solid food. He’s not able to open his month because of the treatment.”

Blair said that Washek also worked with nationally syndicated radio personality Delilah on “Paint the Town” — a community project and promotion created to inspire consumers and listeners of her radio program to invest time and energy in their respective hometowns and neighborhoods, and instill pride in their home towns.

In an email, Delilah called Washek a “true gentleman.”

“He is a rare person who seems to be born in the wrong era, he loves all things classic and beautiful,” she wrote. “From the sets he has created for the operas, to the various ships and aircraft that he is an expert on to the classical music that he played and sang, Rich oozes class and history.”

She said Washek is “one of the most well-read people that she has ever met.”

“Speaking to him I am humbled, he speaks as one who could teach at Harvard or Yale, so vast is his knowledge base,” Delilah wrote. “But he never holds his intelligence over others, he is a humble man who simply enjoys the sweet simple pleasures of life. He has a generous spirit and heart.”

Delilah said Washek’s paintings are beautiful and he never missed an opportunity to share his artistic gifts with others.

“I met Rich in an alley when I had decided to create a huge wall mural. I was clearly way over my head (literally, on a lift over head) when Rich showed up with an eagerness to assist,” she recalled. “He turned my mess into a work of art and our friendship was born.”

She wrote that over the past seven years, Washek has generously helped on a number of projects in Port orchard and always given of his time and talent.

“He is a rare gem, a true gentleman with a servant’s heart,” she added.

Individuals interested in donating to help Washek, can contact Blair at 360-801-0012 or by email at tblairairos@hotmail.com.

 

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