John Stark, Kunkel Foundation Gift is single largest private gift to campaign to raise money for expansion, renovation project
Jan. 19, 2011
HARRISBURG – Trustees of the John Crain Kunkel Foundation were honored today in recognition of the foundation’s $315,000 gift to the campaign for the expansion and renovation of HACC’s Sen. John Shumaker Public Safety Center.
In honor of the foundation’s generosity, HACC will name the multi-purpose, 25-lane firing range in the new law enforcement complex as The John Crain Kunkel Tactical Firearms & Defensive Practices Arena, said Nancy Rockey, HACC vice president of college and community development and interim vice president of the Harrisburg Campus.
“This is a special moment for HACC’s Shumaker Public Safety Center and the students who will benefit,” said Rockey. “I knew right away how much they cared by the time they spent talking with us and asking questions. They really wanted to understand the mission of the Public Safety Center.”
Rockey was joined by HACC Trustee William M. Murray, M.D.; HACC Foundation Board Chair-Elect James E. Grandon Jr. and other college representatives for the announcement.
The gift includes $300,000 over two years in 2010-11 and a previous $15,000 in 2009, which makes the foundation the largest single private donor to the public safety center. The foundation carries on the legacy of the late John Crain Kunkel, a local congressman, and his wife, the late Katherine “Kitty” Kunkel.
“What sold us is how you see the sincerity of first responders,” said John Stark, a grandson of the Kunkels, trustee of their foundation, and a member of the HACC Foundation board of directors.
 “Their need is clear: the best training facilities so they can do their jobs,” Stark said. “Our involvement dovetails nicely with what Congressman John Crain Kunkel began in 1965. Great education and state-of-the-art facilities is a recipe for great success. The Kunkel Foundation is glad to be a part of that.”
John Crain Kunkel was a congressman who represented Dauphin, Cumberland, Lebanon, Perry and Juniata counties in Washington, D.C., serving from 1938-50 and 1961-67.  He was a member of the Herter Committee on the post-World War II European economic needs for the Marshall Plan, and was a leading figure in the recovery after the Olmsted Air Force Base in Middletown was closed. He helped establish Harrisburg International Airport and Penn State Harrisburg at the former base. Kunkel also served a four-year term as a Dauphin County Commissioner in addition to his eighteen years as a congressman.
A graduate of Yale University and the Harvard School of Law, Kunkel also received an honorary degree from Franklin and Marshall College and was a trustee of Wilson College. His civic activities included director of the Harrisburg Library, three times president of the Boys Club, long-time director of the Harrisburg Hospital, a founder of the Harrisburg Bridge Club, and an avid supporter of the Tri-County United Way.
His wife, the late Katherine Smoot Kunkel, donated their home after his death in 1970 to the United Way of the Capital Region as its headquarters. Her leadership roles included president of the Congressional Club in Washington, D.C., and president of the Homeland Center in Harrisburg. She was active with the Red Cross, United Way, Junior League, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Cathedral and the Daughters of the American Revolution. She died in 1990.
The Shumaker Public Safety Center was established in 1988 providing training for fire, emergency medical service and police personnel. Today, more than 30,000 of the region’s first responders and healthcare workers are trained annually at the 12-acre site adjacent to the Harrisburg Campus.
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