This is the first in a series featuring community heroes, in which we honor and recognize the Alaskans who have lent a helping hand to neighbors, coworkers, and complete strangers.
SOLDOTNA - CBS 11's Megan Edge traveled to the Kenai Peninsula to meet with one nominee -- Molly Poland, in the heart of Hooligans.
In Soldotna, off the Sterling Highway, you will find Hooligans Lodge. For locals the bar is a weekend hotspot; for tourists it’s just another fishing lodge. But for many, its owner is what keeps them loyal.
From the outside it's just another lodge. But don't judge a book by its cover, because Hooligans has a lot of heart.
Jeff Allen is a janitor here. He's just one of many Molly Poland helped back on his feet.
“She breaks her back for just about everybody,” Allen said.
About 18 months ago, the retired slope worker was broke and unemployed.
“I just kept pestering Molly and of course they didn't have an opening at the time but as soon as it came up I got phone call and I said I will be there tomorrow.”
But what Molly gave him was so much more than a job.
“If it’s food that we need, we've got it,” Allen said. “If we need a job, we got it. We need extra hours, she will find something for us to do. We just do it... because that’s the way we are. We’re a family.”
And she doesn't just help her employees.
“A couple times there have been families that have been in situations where their houses have caught on fire and they lost everything, and so we have them stay here and they can eat breakfast and sometimes they have clothes at home I can bring them,” Poland said.
In the five years that Poland has owned Hooligans Lodge, she's helped countless people for many different reasons.
“There [are] a lot of families that have hard times that people don't know about, and are embarrassed about it, and so I will just approach them and tell them, ‘you are more than welcome to stay at Hooligans until you figure things out.”
It's that attitude that makes Molly not just a businesswoman, but a member of almost every family in Soldotna.
“I tell her I love her all the time; it's all I can say to her… hug her and give her a kiss,” Allen said. Molly, according to Allen, is a community hero.
If you know of an unsung hero who deserves recognition tell us about him or her.
We’re looking for those who serve others, have helped those around them, made life easier for someone else… If you'd like to nominate a KTVA hero, contact us on Facebook, Twitter, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the newsroom at 274-1111.