Mountain View resident Paul Dennig loved basketball and skiing. He loved the Golden State Warriors and exploring nature up in the Berkeley hills. But more than anything, he loved making his friends and family feel loved.
Dennig, 24, was among those who died in a multi-vehicle accident on Highway 101 last month. The horrific crash left three dead and five more injured.
Zeyad El-arabaty, who describes Dennig as his best friend, remembers the moment they first met during freshman orientation at the University of California, Berkeley.
“We were just in a room watching the Warriors game together,” El-arabaty remembers. “We got to chatting and became friends that day. Then after that, we saw each other almost every day.”
The pair enjoyed playing basketball together and going on night walks around UC Berkeley’s campus, El-arabaty remembers.
“We talked about a little bit of everything, our dreams for each other,” he said. “He kind of introduced me to nature and got me to really enjoy it. He understood me better than anyone and we kind of just got each other.”
Dennig was the kind of person who put his friends and family first, always there to lift them up, El-arabaty said. He remembered one time when Dennig taught him how to snowboard in Tahoe.
“As I was snowboarding down my first blue, it was so steep that I fell almost immediately. Paul was experienced, so he was able to go down,” El-arabaty said. “He looked up and he noticed that I fell, and he saw that I couldn’t get back up. He climbed back up the mountain, which was pretty tough because the mountain was steep. He helped me get up and then we went down together. That was just kind of what he did, he just liked to help.”
El-arabaty recalled another time when he was recovering from intensive knee surgery. Dennig delayed his summer plans to live with his friend and help him with anything he needed during recovery.
“He took care of me, took me to appointments, he lifted me up through the pain,” El-arabaty said. “It was a really tough recovery, and he was there for all of it. I wouldn’t have got through it without him. He was sacrificial, and he expressed his support through actions.”
El-arabaty along with Dennig’s other close friends launched a GoFundMe to support Dennig’s parents, who are devastated by the loss of their only child. The page notes that Dennig had recently graduated from UC Berkeley, and was ambitious about robotics and mechanical engineering.
“As his friends we really want to let them have the space to process the situation and not let them worry about anything else,” El-arabaty said. “We hope that people are going to donate generously to the GoFundMe that we set up in his honor, and all the proceeds are going to go directly to his parents to help them.”