Gary Heckman saw the sign for People’s in 2010 and started attending soon after.

He grew up in a Baptist Church in Indiana and says he has been recovering since age 15. He later was associated with the Church of the Brethren until finding People’s.

Gary was widowed in 2009 and has been with his partner, Libby Heiny-Cogswell, since 2010. Libby attends St. Tom’s Catholic Church, but Gary finds People’s more to his liking.

He said, “I feel like I fit well here at People’s and find the services very centering and a time to reflect and regroup. Finding bits of wisdom from a wide variety of sources works for me and I find that the 4th and 5th principles speak to me.”  This includes believing in the never-ending search for Truth and the unity of experience.

Gary, who was a building inspector and maintenance supervisor much of his career, helps with building and grounds here at People’s.

“Nearly my entire career was in mechanical systems and efficiency,” Gary said. “Now, as an inspector, it is possible to find the occasional code violation in the building. This is work I intend to continue to help me stay up-to-date in systems.”

Wednesdays he tutors at Millwood Middle School. “I sort of took up Bill Goodman’s spot after he finally gave it up,” Gary said. “My hope is to be a positive influence with the kids, show them some of the joy of learning with a few ‘Mr. Wizard’ examples, and help wherever I can.”

Last year Gary helped Ann Feldmeier by teaching Drivers Ed for two Syrian refugee moms.

“I don’t know that I could do this again, but the experience was great cross-culturally and we developed strong friendships,” Gary said.

Gary enjoys bicycling, contradancing, kayaking and attending Rotary meetings.


(Gary, 65, has, two grown kids and four grandkids.)

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