At the annual Kiwanis of Woodlake awards banquet, held Friday, March 2, 11 outstanding community members, a local business, and two volunteer groups were honored for meritorious service to Woodlake. Among that throng, George and Debbie Kulick of Three Rivers, were honored for epitomizing the “Spirit of Woodlake.”
The Kulicks might well be honored for what they do in two communities — Three Rivers and Woodlake — selflessly giving to help others. That is the essence of the “Spirit of Woodlake,” and the Kulicks are a prime example of how Woodlake and Three Rivers work together to enrich the lives of all those who live, work, and attend school here.
The Kulicks moved to Three Rivers 10 years ago to live near George’s parents and so their two children could attend local schools as George was winding down his career as an engineer with the U.S. Forest Service.
George is the direct connection to this area having been born in Visalia. After his parents Harry and Rose Kulick built and opened Kaweah General Store in 1961, the family moved to Three Rivers and George and his older brother, Mike, attended Three Rivers School.
George graduated from Woodlake High School in 1973, then headed off to Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, where he earned a civil engineering degree. In 1980, he embarked on a 30-year career with the U.S. Forest Service.
The couple met in Davis while Debbie, who hails from Michigan, was working as a veterinarian. George’s job took the Kulicks to stops in Virginia, Georgia, and New Mexico, where their kids, John and Maryrose, were born. Along the way, Debbie launched a second career as an accountant and is still a self-employed tax consultant, currently operating in Three Rivers as Kaweah Tax Services.
Debbie said she plans to work a couple of more years then join George in retirement. On the Kulick’s bucket list is to spend time traveling and to see more of Europe. But it won’t be easy finding time to travel with all these two do.
Here are some of their volunteer activities:
The Kulicks are actively involved with St. Clement of Alexandria Church in Woodlake and serve on the church’s Daycare Board.
Both are members of the Woodlake High School Foundation; Debbie serves as treasurer and George is currently the vice president.
George is on the board of the Buck Rock Foundation, a nonprofit group dedicated to the preservation of the area’s historic fire lookouts. During fire season, if the roster of volunteers is unavailable, George steps in to monitor for fires at any one of the lookouts.
But it is in the public schools where the Kulicks strive to make a difference. George is an elected member of the Three Rivers Union School board of trustees. He is currently working with a committee to improve WHS’s Senior Class portfolios and exit interviews. George also makes and donates furniture to be auctioned by both the WHS and TRUS foundations.
Debbie has served with TRUS Eagle Booster Club and helped to re-energize the WHS Football Boosters. She has been a timer at swim meets and is always on hand to assist with all sorts of sports fundraisers. Debbie provided her accounting skills to help the Woodlake Food Pantry regain their tax-exempt status.
When Woodlake High’s theatre arts department presents a show, it’s the Kulicks who often work the box office and help sell the tickets. Both assist the WHS Foundation with scholarship interviews and support WHS graduates with the “Make a Difference” scholarship.
The Kulicks know all about making a difference. And they don’t take any down time:
“John called Debbie today about an article on our Woodlake spirit award,” George wrote in an email. “Debbie and I wondered how to morph that into support for WHS Foundation donations and WHS in general?”
Here’s how— The WHS Foundation accepts donations year-round that are used for student programs and senior scholarships. Donations are gratefully accepted online (www.woodlakefoundation.org), by mail (P.O. Box 475, Woodlake, CA 93286), or by calling (559) 564-8081.
Other award recipients— Lifetime Achievement Award-Terry Baker; Man of the Year-Louie Lopez; Woman of the Year-Aurora Medina; Educator of the Year-Nancy Stiltz Crawford; Organization of the Year-Kiwanis of Woodlake; Commitment to Youth-Woodlake Youth Football; Youth Mentor-Larry Arroyo; Youths of the Year-Claudia Zacarias and Carlos Lucatero; Business of the Year-Goin’ Postal; and Recycler of the Year-WHS Recycling Club.