Congregational Treasure. Jun. 1., 2020. Ken Foley has been an energetic contributor to many facets of UUCF’s mission since he joined the congregation in 2010. He has served for many years as a member of UUCF’s Property Stewardship Council (PSC), guiding and consulting on numerous capital improvement projects. Ken brings deep expertise to the PSC from the building, remodeling and design company he has run for almost 45 years. Lately, his advice helped UUCF have a successful 2019-20 Roofapalooza campaign to repair the Sanctuary roof and make improvements to other buildings affected by weather damage and age.
As an Eagle Scout mentor, Ken has guided many Eagle Scout candidates in planning and executing projects to improve UUCF’s campus. Projects have included installation of three drainage pipes and a large rock catch basin to control erosion and drainage that was washing mulch and mud onto the entrance to the Sanctuary. The Scouts were responsible for demolishing the concrete from the patio and former oil storage tank outside the Administration Building and replacing it with a beautiful stone patio. They installed the split rail fence around the parking lot tree, and cleared and improved paths around the Memorial Grove and other areas of campus. Besides modeling for the boys the zeal to “do it right” that typifies his own professional work and teaching them life-changing project management skills, Ken’s Scout mentorship has saved UUCF about $50,000.
Ken received UUCF’s 2018 Bruce H. Birnbaum Award in recognition of volunteer service above and beyond the call of duty. He continues to find ways to exemplify the values of service honored by the award. Ken played a crucial role in the recent workday project to create emergency evacuation paths through the woods for the children of the congregation. Using his Bobcat, Ken cleared the paths of underbrush, loaded wheelbarrows with mulch and reset a drain pipe that was upended by a downed tree. UUCF can rely on Ken to jump in during an emergency, such as balancing the electrical loads to provide safe power for the Chili Cook-Offs and showing up in the middle of the night when a tree fell through the roof of the Montessori school.
Ken has given generously of his skilled labor (and tools) as one of the leaders of UUCF’s annual Rebuilding Together projects, and as a leader in many projects, such as recently repainting the interior of the Administration Building. As much as his building skills are a gift to UUCF, Ken’s contributions of time, energy and talent go beyond his professional wheelhouse. For years, he has been a reliable volunteer for UUCF’s Hypothermia Shelter, organizing the drivers and getting up early and staying late to drive vans transporting homeless folks to and from the shelter at UUCF. He matched congregants with one other in small groups to build fellowship through Circle Dinners. Ken is also the lead organizer of UUCF’s INOVA blood drives and oversaw recruitment of teams of UUCF volunteers for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s “Light the Night” fundraising walk.
It is so often true that the example you set by how you do something is as important as the thing itself. Ken works with a calm, quiet humility, and his demeanor is always friendly and unshakeable. Ken’s expertise helps ensure UUCF’s buildings and grounds can be a sustaining physical presence for this congregation, but Ken’s contribution is so much more than that. His dedication, generosity and service of care cultivate the congregation that lives beyond our campus. Ken’s living commitment makes UUCF a spiritual home.
Written by Paul Atelsek