Kremmling: Conversation with … John Dolan
February 25, 2008
Kremmling resident John Dolan has always held volunteerism as a cornerstone of his life. Since moving to the area, he has devoted time and energies to local causes dear to him. We took the time to talk to the politically-passionate, nonprofit-devoted Dolan, and found out a little more about the making of a volunteer.
Q. Where are you from?
A. I am proud to be an Oregon native, but I grew up in a bizarre community called Berkeley, Calif.
Q. How long have you lived in Grand County?
A. I’ve lived in Grand County since Fourth of July weekend, 1997. Worked from August ’97 to March 2000 at the Henderson Mill in Operations.
Q. Tell me some about your volunteerism in the area.
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A. I have served on the Communities That Care board here in Kremmling, addressing the need for more involvement by parents in guiding our young people away from drugs and alcohol.
But I’m probably best known for my service on the library district board. I served for seven plus years, and participated in the growth of the district, both in terms of professional employees as well as the guidance of staff in determining policy and building two new facilities … without increasing our mill levy.
I recently joined the board of the Grand County Council on Aging and hope to help in their transition to being an element of the county and in meeting their new goals and needs with growth. I do try to work with individuals in need by visiting the confined, whether that be in a facility or in their own home.
A. Why out of all local nonprofits the Grand County Council on Aging?
Q. Well, I’m a senior, and they’re going through a lot of change. But as a senior, they’ve helped me and others I know of. I just went through a hip replacement and they were able to lend me a bench and walker. Basically, when you receive from organizations, especially volunteer groups, someone has to pay back. I’ve been the beneficiary from them, and so I feel I have to pay it forward.
If we want a better society, we have to invest either time or money or both.
Q. Tell me about your family.
A. I am divorced and have two children, Patrick and Maria, and three grandchildren, Emily, Margot and Josie. All of them live in Seattle, and I am hoping to join them before getting too much older.
Q. What was your profession?
A. I achieved an M.B.A. in finance from the University of California in 1966 ” a very tumultuous time on that campus, by the way.
I then worked in sales, marketing and marketing research for two Fortune 300 companies, and struck out on my own doing marketing consulting to businesses in 1981.
Q. What was it like being at Berkeley during that time?
A. 1966 was the free speech movement, and literally, people were handing out leaflets that would get you sent to jail these days. I didn’t take them. I was a geek, as my daughter says. I was just trying to get my education and get to work. I was going to business school at a time when people were pretty unhappy with business. It was the hippy movement. Anyone who was alive then could relate to that.
Q. So you weren’t a hippy?
A. Oh, quite the opposite. To some degree, it was my whole Irish Catholic upbringing that made me quite different from the young people at Berkeley.
Q. Were you involved in politics back then?
A. Yes, that has been consistent all the way through. Being a Democrat in the Bay area was easy. If you weren’t a Democrat, you were probably a Communist or non-committed. At Berkeley, people preferred to moan about what was going on and fight the system than be a part of the system and work at changing it.
I did have one period of dropping out of politics, after June of 1968. I was working for the Robert F. Kennedy campaign, and we campaigned strongly, until he was assassinated at the end of the California primary. He did a victory speech and walked into the kitchen of the hotel in Los Angeles and was shot. At that point, I said, ‘oh, heck with politics.’ But, of course, you can’t do that. You have to stay in the game.
Q. What currently is your role in politics?
A. I’m the precinct committee person and county secretary for the Grand County Democratic Party.
Q. What is your passion?
A. My passion is trying to see the ‘right’ things done in our society. Ultimately, my values stem back to being raised by a pair of Victorians and 16 years of parochial education ” first grade through college.
My central theme could be best described as, ‘Much is expected of those to whom much has been given.’ That has taken me into politics and volunteerism.
Q. Why do you think volunteerism is so important?
A. Our society needs to recognize how rich we are, and members should give back some of their time to help run the nonprofits and special districts. We all benefit from people who have given in the past, and our time comes up if we let it.
We need to participate also in politics unless we want to abrogate our rights as citizens.
My father grew up in Northern Ireland, and if ever there was a place that showed ballots are superior to bullets, that is it.
” Tonya Bina can be reached at 887-3334 ext. 19603 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.