WESTMINSTER -- Charles P. Kelsey started volunteering with Kurn Hattin Homes for Children about 25 years ago.
He was working for Marriott at the time, and his stepmother, Patricia, asked him to secure a weekend getaway to offer the winner of Kurn Hattin's first-ever benefit golf classic. He did, and the competition has been a tradition ever since.
In late September, Kelsey was appointed the president of the Kurn Hattin Homes Board of Trustees -- the same position his stepmom once held -- and he is enthusiastic about his new leadership role.
"There's certainly some nostalgia, having had a family member in the role and who did a lot for Kurn Hattin," the Deerfield, N.H., resident said in a telephone interview. "My stepmom once said to me, it was such a compliment, she said, ‘My greatest gift to Kurn Hattin has been you.'"
Established in 1894, Kurn Hattin Homes for Children is a charitable home and school for boys and girls affected by tragedy, social or economic hardship, or other disruption in their family life. It relies entirely on benefactors and private donations.
Also sworn in as new board members, were Dr. Robert E. Tortolani, of Brattleboro, Gordon Bristol, of Williamsville, and Elizabeth David of New London, Conn. Tortolani has been a family physician in Brattleboro for the past 39 years and has been active in many facets of the community in Windham County, including the development of the West River Park.
"The people involved in the organization are so caring about children, about helping young people reach their potential. Joining the board fits well with my personal mission," he said in a statement released by Kurn Hattin.
Kelsey, who will turn 59 later this month, said the initial phase of his work has been to bring together new board members to enlist their input on completing a three-year strategic plan with a primary focus on creating an economic stability model that reaches across all areas of Kurn Hattin.
He also wants to concentrate on how to modify and adjust services to children in exceptional need. Kelsey said there are more of these children than before.
He said he feels his first few months as board president have been a smashing success. Connie Anderson, the acting executive director, agreed with him wholeheartedly.
"He's fabulous. He has been a trustee since 1994 and he really knows the organization," she said. "He's young and innovative. I think he will bring a lot of energy and great new ideas."
She said the campus is very excited to have Kelsey in his new position.
Kelsey, a married father of three grown children, now serves as the full-time vice president of resident life at RiverWoods at Exeter, an independent retirement community in New Hampshire, but said being board president is the best non-paid job anyone could ever have.
"It's such worthwhile work," he said. "I love it."
Domenic Poli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277.