Have you ever wondered who the people are who serve on the Kurn Hattin Board of Trustees? They are a team of dedicated men and women with a myriad of professional careers and experiences who share a strong commitment to governing Kurn Hattin Homes’ present and future. Among them, we are fortunate and grateful to have members of our own alumni serve. They bring a special and important perspective to the table. One of these people is Ron Williams, Class of 1948, who currently serves as Chairman and Vice President on the Executive Committee.
Ron attended Kurn Hattin from 1943 and graduated in 1948. He went on to high school in Rye, New York, and later joined the U.S. Air Force. He spent four years as a Flight Crew Member on B50 bombers and KC 97 tankers. After his service, he was hired by Johnson Controls. His work took him to Italy, where he remained for many years.
After working in Italy, he moved to Germany. As the European Managing Director in Germany Ron remembers, “I gave the Christmas speech to 800-900 people in German for the three years I was there, “I would write it in English, give it to my Secretary to translate into German and she would convert it into phonetic German for me.” Communicating in the local language, however one manages it, is always much appreciated. After his stay in Germany, and having been promoted as the Corporate Vice President in charge of International Control Operations, he retired to Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1995 and later moved to Connecticut. Ron has been to 113 countries and he and his wife, Pat continue to enjoy their international travels.
“I never really left Kurn Hattin.” Ron kept in contact and his memories are many. Some of his fondest are Sunday nights when Mr. Mayo would set up chairs in the basement of Wilson Cottage for 7th and 8th graders and would lecture on honesty, loyalty, proper attire, and respect for elders. “I’m very grateful for the value system that I was able to take away from Kurn Hattin.
“Kurn Hattin is my number one charity and I’m proud to be a former student and to be able to donate. I’m paying back, returning what Kurn Hattin did for me.” His four brothers attended the Homes as well. When asked what brought them to the Homes he replied that his mother had to work and they needed to get off the streets of New York. He and his brothers were the only New York city children at the Homes at the time.
Ron was elected as a Kurn Hattin Incorporator in 1996 and as a Trustee in 1997. “The Executive Committee,” he explained, “essentially makes policy. Major policy decisions go to the full Board. An example of a major decision would be the decision to open a new cottage and all the financial aspects of doing so. The Board of Trustees approves major expenditures and annual budgets. They hold the organization consistent with good practices, and define the mission of Kurn Hattin and the strategies necessary to achieve the mission. The Board is focused on sustainability. Kurn Hattin is a charity and is entirely funded by donations and by earnings of the endowment. If money is drawn from the endowment to cover revenue gaps, sustainability decreases.”
“Kurn Hattin produces good citizens and strengthens families. Anyone who feels Kurn Hattin is important should want to contribute and be a part of the program.” Ron personally likes the fact that when he donates to Kurn Hattin, he knows where the money is going. “In so many ways Kurn Hattin is unchanged from when I was there. There are new buildings but the atmosphere hasn’t changed. Kurn Hattin continues to be the same amazing place after all these years.”
~ Kim Fine Director of Development