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George Herthel was one of the most sought-after location managers in the industry. Soon after he received the shocking diagnosis of ALS (also known as Lou Gerhrig’s disease) and joined MPTF’s Palliative Care Program, he put out a call-to-action: “I made a promise to my wife that I would paint the inside and outside of the house,” wrote George in a letter to MPTF volunteers. “Unfortunately, my diagnosis makes this impossible.”

Over the course of several weekends, volunteers flocked to paint the entire inside and outside of the home where George, his wife Pam and their dog Ringo lived, offering their hands and hearts in the fulfillment of George’s final wish before his passing.

For the volunteers, this felt like a way to give back to members of their own family; it was a responsibility and an opportunity. Brenda English emphasizes that for industry members this community support is unique. “Nobody understands you like business people understand you,” she stated.

The bonds and friendships fostered during the painting of the house were powerful and lasting. As MPTF’s CEO Bob Beitcher says, “When a fellow industry member is in need, we’ve got their back. We’re here to support them. We’re a safety net for the industry.”

Looking back, Pam relates that the hardest thing to do was ask for help. The only way she knows how to express her feelings toward MPTF is with a promise: “Any time they ask me to help, or do anything at all, I’m there. I’m there for the rest of my life.”

So are the volunteers. So is MPTF. We take care of our own.

For more information about volunteering with MPTF, or to sign up, visit our Volunteer section.

About MPTF: For over 95 years, MPTF (Motion Picture & Television Fund) has served as a safety net for entertainment industry members. As a charitable organization, MPTF provides programs and services essential to the well-being of individuals, their families and the industry community at large, and is a recognized leader in Senior Care and Palliative Care services. MPTF is supported by the generosity of fellow entertainment workers, and corporate donors united by a common thread of Hollywood Helping Hollywood – “We Take Care of Our Own”. For more information visit and donate at

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