By Janet Wetzel
CLEVES - Soon after retiring, Alvin Rullmann nailed down his next career: volunteering full-time to help others.
Actually Rullmann, known by most as "Bud," had already been helping others while still working. But after retiring from carpentry work in 1988, he made it a lifestyle.
Rullmann, 77, has spent about 25 years volunteering at Pilgrim United Church of Christ in Bridgetown, primarily for its mission at Camp Washington United Church of Christ. He recently helped the mission church build a pole barn to store furniture and appliances it gives to needy families.
For nearly 10 years, he has helped Westfed, a coalition of churches that funds and builds houses for the Cincinnati Habitat for Humanity chapter. He's the lead site coordinator for Westfed's 11th and 12th Habitat homes. Rullmann also was named Cincinnati Habitat's 2001 volunteer of the year.
"My role, basically, is teaching others there the carpentry aspect of it," Rullmann said. "I teach them woodworking, how to build the interior and exterior walls, how to assemble them and such."
Rullmann owned a business from 1957 to 1973. He taught at Diamond Oaks four years, then worked for another contractor until he retired in 1988. He lives in Cleves with his wife, Marilyn.
Fellow Habitat volunteer Tim Lynch, a professor of history at College of Mount St. Joseph, said Rullmann's skill and patience overseeing the college's first Habitat house last year was invaluable.
"Home building is an art. Without Bud, I'm afraid we would have looked like the Keystone Kops of home construction," Lynch said. "He has a hammer and knows how to use it, and much more. He has skills and knowledge he willingly shares. And a heart that keeps on giving."
"It's a real joy. Something all retirees should do," Rullmann said. "Just pick an organization and go out and get busy. I stay busy, and I want to continue to stay busy. When you see people so less fortunate than you, it's a shot in the arm for you and for them to be able to help."
Do you know a Hometown Hero - someone in your community dedicated to making it a better place to live and helping others? E-mail Janet Wetzel at firstname.lastname@example.org or fax to (513) 755-4150.
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