Alumni Award: Service
For Michael Kling '80, serving others is a no-brainer. A volunteer firefighter since the age of 22, Kling has rescued people from burning buildings, tunneled through World Trade Center rubble searching for 9-11 survivors, and helped both vehicular accident and flood victims.
"A lot of people don't want to run into burning buildings, they want to run out," explains Kling, "so there's a need that I can fulfill."
That mantra became part of his DNA when he got involved with Susquehanna's Student Government Association (SGA). Kling was a member of the SGA, served as SGA treasurer, and was a student representative to Susquehanna's Board of Trustees. When he wasn't serving as co-captain of the men's soccer team, he was spreading joy dressed in a pink bunny suit handing out Easter candy to children at the local mall and
"By being involved at Susquehanna ... I learned so much about interpersonal communications and how to be effective on all levels," he says.
In the late 1980s Kling's efforts to rescue two people from a burning house in Morris County, N.J., and resuscitate one of them led to three
Several years later, he and his family-his wife, choral teacher Laura Hines '82 Kling and their two children-moved to Highland Mills near
West Point, N.Y. Since then he has served as scoutmaster for his son's Boy Scout troop, soccer coach for both children, a trustee of his local
village and a commissioner of the local fire district. Kling, who responds to about 300 fire calls a year with Highland Mills Fire Co., also
received the National Fire Protection Association's "Learn Not to Burn" Champion Award for organizing a fire safety program that annually
reaches several thousand school children.
Kling has done all this while working for the past 17 years as an account executive for Roche Diagnostics. It's no surprise then that he
enthusiastically supports the university's SU SERVE program. "It ingrains in students the idea to do something to give back to the community,"
he says, pointing out that this year's monthlong service drive resulted in more than 26,000 volunteer hours being donated to organizations and
communities throughout the United States and abroad.