Hometown Hero: ‘Never hesitate to get involved and volunteer. You will always receive more than you give’

  • Kathy Fuller has been the major force in the Veterans Memorial Recreation Area and the Franklin Outing Club, which provide inexpensive recreational outdoor experiences to all in the Franklin area. She follows in the footsteps of her parents, who were founding members. She is also very active in the Thrift Closet in downtown Franklin. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Kathy Fuller has been the major force in the Veterans' Memorial Recreation Area and the Franklin Outing Club, which provide inexpensive recreational outdoor experiences to all in the Franklin area. She follows in the footsteps of her parents, who were founding members. She is also very active in the Thrift Closet in downtown Franklin. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Kathy Fuller is president for The Thrift Clothes Closet in downtown Franklin. Before retiring, she worked as a nurse at Franklin Hospital for 45 years. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 1/2/2022 8:00:42 PM

As a kid growing up in Franklin, Kathy Fuller remembers skiing with her family at the small slope in Franklin after her father and other World War II veterans had cleared the trees and smoothed out the land.

It was a place where families went to spend time together, eat food and laugh.

Named the Veterans Memorial Recreation Area after the men who founded it, the area is still offering fun activities to families. Fuller is the Franklin Outing Club treasurer and she does everything she can to keep the ski area open and accessible to anyone who wants to hit the slopes.

“We make it affordable for kids to begin skiing,” said Fuller. “All we ask is that you become part of our club.”

Fuller is one of the people who has helped change the image of her small city from a depressed mill town to an outdoor recreation destination at the foot of New Hampshire’s Lakes Region. Mountain biking trails near the Franklin Falls Dam, a new whitewater park in the city’s downtown, and a pair of disc golf courses are just a few of the attractions for outdoor enthusiasts.

It’s taken multiple people working together to realize the vision. Fuller, whose parents were founding members of the Franklin Outing Club, has been working at it for decades.

“It’s a family heritage thing,” said Fuller. “I was brought up in a family that gave back to the community.”

Fuller also serves as president for The Thrift Clothes Closet, a local second-hand store providing clothes and housewares at an affordable price for the residents of Franklin. The store fills a need in the community and stayed open during the pandemic.

“The beginning to COVID, many stores stopped taking donations,” said Fuller. “We kept taking them. We have people who come down from Wolfeboro and other places that appreciate what our mission is.”

Fuller said many of their donations come from retirees, or those who are downsizing or moving from the area.

“We appreciate all of the community that donates to us, and it stays in the community,” said Fuller. “We have no employees, the money stays within the community. The rest of the profits go back to the community.”

Before retiring, Fuller worked as a nurse at Franklin Hospital for 45 years, including time in the emergency room.

“I remember some difficult days early on when I was taking care of patients whose families I knew very well,” said Fuller. “It’s very hard doing that.”

Along the way, Fuller raised two children, both of which live in Franklin, and has five grandchildren.

Through Fuller’s work, as well as many others within the community like that of Marty Parichand, who is building New England’s first whitewater park, Franklin has seen a wave of revitalization.

“It’s very exciting to see progress,” said Fuller. ” I feel very excited with what some of these young guys are doing in this community.”

Fuller feels revitalizing the city through service will put Franklin back on the map, and make it a destination for those traveling within New Hampshire.

“They may even come back to this area just because what they see happening,” said Fuller. “Now it’s getting better. It’s a very positive scenario and I’m happy to be part of it.”

Fuller encourages those within the community to volunteer with one of the many community organizations in Franklin.

“Never hesitate to get involved and volunteer,” said Fuller. “You will always receive more than you give.”




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