Sunday, April 27, 2008

Local Man Works To Better Community, World

For those who have never heard of the altruistic, non-funded group, the Kiwanis, it means “We trade,” or, “We share our talents,” from the American Indian expression, Nunc Kee-wanis. And for anybody who knows Paul Kull, current member and founder of the Randolph branch of the organization, they already know that that’s a pretty apt description of a man who’s been with the club for over 37 years.

“I joined because somebody asked me to [do it], and I thought it would be a good way to gain visibility in the town,” says Kull, who first joined the club back when he lived in Livingston.

But what started out as a way to get his face out there more to the public turned into a lifelong commitment to people in the community at large.

“I happened to have in my mind [that helping was a good thing to do], and nobody told me that I have to do it,” says Kull, who reflects on his many years of service in the Kiwanis’, “It was the public spirit-y thing to do.”

Back in 1971, it was Mr. Kull who picked up and moved, along with another member, from Livingston and started anew in Randolph, where they gained the charter they needed to get started and begin their process.

“The other guy transferred somewhere else when he got a new job,” Kull says, amusingly, “[so] I was left to finish the job.”

And in that job, Kull did a lot. Starting out as Charter President (A position that he would have one other time from ’98 to ‘99 in his years of service), his first job on the agenda was renovation of the town library, where they helped install pieces in the building and spruce it up to make it more presentable.

Or, as Kull puts it, “We did physical labor.”

Physical labor in the Kiwanis, though, means many different things, such as supporting other groups like the Dover and Randolph High School key clubs, ushering at Special Olympics events, and even staging war reenactments such as the one the group held for seven years in honor of the anniversary of the Revolutionary War.

“It was something to do to remember the people who fought for this country,” Kull says.
Retired now from his job of being a management consultant in the field of human resources and recruiting, Kull also takes upon another role in the club besides just showing up and helping out at events—garnering more and more members to aid in the cause.

“We have over 50 members [in the Randolph Kiwanis’] and are just processing three new members,” Kull says.

Not bad for a group that gets no money from the state or town and raises their own funds from events such as the Morristown Craft Market and the Freedom Festival held at the County College of Morris.

“Our work is local, and our ideas come from the bottom up, instead of top to bottom,” Kull says on how each Kiwanis’ group is different in its own special way.

“We raise the money, and we do what we need to do [to get things done].”

Sharing one’s talents, indeed.

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