Hal Samples describes himself as “just some dude.” After a brief encounter, with the purpose of writing this blog about him, I now think quite the opposite. Samples had worked as a photographer for 9 years, living everyday in an effort to experience others and their stories through the art of photography. For a long time Hal was given assistance by one man, an unknown who saw something in him, and with that hope fueled Hal’s career for many years until the benefactor’s death. On his deathbed, Hal filmed him at the VA hospital when he gave Hal a final piece of advice, “Stay focused.” To Hal, that only meant one thing, the gift he had was not his and it had to be shared. “I had to pay it forward, to all that had helped me.”
I have to be honest, until a few weeks ago, I had never heard of Hal Samples. He explained to me his work in Dallas. A working photographer for 9 years, his camera equipment was first to go when he was in monetary need. He ran a space, the Hal Samples Gallery which was a place for creatives, artists and community. By that, Hal explains that in one week's time it was common to find a myriad of people, groups in his space, anything from a yoga class, an art show, kids art classes, free beer and pizza, political rallies, photo shoots, a church, a wedding, meditation classes, a retreat for college students and missionary groups. "Photography just paid the bills." During this time he gave back to the rest of the Dallas, donating to other art galleries, buying their art when in need, donating money, and helping launch the careers of others, artists and musicians.
Without getting into too much detail, Hal underwent a surgery in response to a painful hernia and is currently suffering from a failed mesh patch. What happened? Well, some of the known side effects of the surgery are patch shriveling, buckled mesh, curled up edges, crumpled, wrinkled, rolled up or folded. That last one? That’s what happened to Hal, his sciatic nerve, penile nerve and femoral artery which all rested on this mesh, had become tangled together. The mesh was removed, but the pain continued. This began his health journey with accredited doctors and physicians following a slew of holistic remedies and treatments. The hope? A surgery-free recovery. He says he has 18 weeks left of treatment and by then his body should be in a better place to take on other treatments. Other goals? To share his story and promote a surgery free recovery for others.
I guess it comes as no surprise that my hope is that several of you come to the Hal Samples Benefit tomorrow night, August 10, 2012. I didn’t know the guy 24 hours ago, had I passed him on the street, I would think he was “just some dude,” but based on his track record, I’ll be giving a little to save a life. It’s time for us, as a community to pay it forward to the man that has done so much for so long without urge or instruction. It’s time to give back.
The following are the details for the event: August 10th, 2012 6pm - 2am at Club Dada (2720 Elm Street, Dallas, TX 75226)
Various local artists will have works on display for a silent auction. There will be music, there will be fun, and as Hal hopes, “everyone will have a great time.” All proceeds will benefit Mr. Samples.