Lake Hallie restaurant raises money for employee's cancer treatm - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Lake Hallie restaurant raises money for employee's cancer treatment

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Lake Hallie (WQOW) -- If you've been to Heckle's Family Restaurant in Lake Hallie sometime in the last 20 years, you've probably seen Josè Rodriguez there hard at work. This weekend, enjoying a meal at Heckel's will help Josè in a big way. 

For more than two decades, Josè Rodriguez has worked his way up the ranks at Heckel's Family Restaurant. Starting as a dishwasher, then moving onto kitchen work. 

"And after I was working in the kitchen for a month, they promoted me to assistant kitchen manager," Rodriguez told News 18.

Eventually, he was named the assistant restaurant manager. But in 2014, after he was diagnosed with colon cancer, Josè was forced to slow down. 

"I'd rather be working, not sitting around at home, you know? But sometimes it don't work that way," he said. 

After he cut back his hours at work, Josè said the medical bills starting piling up. That's why his long-time employer decided to step up to help pay for his treatment.

On Saturday and Sunday, Heckel's will donate 10% of all proceeds to the Rodriguez family to help cover some of their healthcare costs. 

"Josè has been part of our team for 22 years and, as such, we've all grown very close and we believe in taking care of each other," Heckel's owner, Rose Hunt told News 18. 

Josè's wife, Jacqueline, said he's exhausted chemotherapy treatments and insurance doesn't cover his new treats. She said any kind of financial support the family can get, goes a long way. 

"Without all the generosity of the people, we can't continue," Jacqueline said, "We want him here, as long as we can have him." 

The restaurant is also selling blue ribbons to raise money for Josè, who said the community's love has been overwhelming. 

"Wow,that means, I don't have no word for," he said. "We all need help out there somewhere, and so I guess it's our turn, we need some help this time too." 

If you can't make it to Heckel's this weekend, the restaurant will be selling Josè's blue ribbons through October. A Go Fund Me page has also been set up to fund his fight against cancer. 

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