Some people plan their lives meticulously. Others are content to just “go with the flow”. And, many do a bit of both.
The plans that Kevin and Bobbie Kuns had for their married life have led to their somewhat surprising decision to move to Montrose. But while they have settled down here, in one sense, they have become very active in another. Especially Mr. Kuns, who, somewhat to his own surprise, has become a political activist; he is the new chairman of the Montrose County Democratic Party, a member of the Uncompahgre Valley Alliance (the local arm of the Western Colorado Alliance, formerly known as Western Colorado Congress), and a member of the Montrose County Citizens Advisory Committee.
“My life now is, honestly, at some place where I never thought I would be. Not that I didn’t care about what was going on in the world, but if somebody had told me 20 years ago that I would be chairing the Montrose Democratic Party, I would have asked them what the heck they were drinkin’,” he said, shaking his head and grinning.
He gradually evolved into a political activist as he realized that “Democracy is not a spectator sport.”
Kuns, who is semi-retired, first visited Montrose 20 years ago. He and Bobbie became residents in 2014. “I’m in a place that I’m excited to be in, but I never thought that I’d be here. From my business background over so many years, I never thought I’d become a grass-roots organizer and political activist.”
The Monitor asked Kuns how he got from that particular point A to this particular point B. “I was in the restaurant business for almost 30 years, most of it on the west coast,” he revealed. “I went to Arizona State and started tending bar. From there, I became a management guy for three different companies in California.” His career involved opening new restaurants around the country.”
When Kuns, who is 64 years old, felt it was time to slow down a bit he opened a hospitality industry recruiting company called “Pro Management Associates”. This enabled him to work online and from home, anywhere in the country.
He and his wife Bobbie met while he was living in Houston, and she was living in Casper, WY, where he had family. After some long-distance dating, Kevin, who was born in Wyoming, moved to Casper to marry Bobbie.
While camping on the Grand Mesa years ago, the couple drove to Montrose for the first time to pick up supplies. “We fell in love with the area!,” Kuns said with his typical enthusiasm. “We came back over three more years to camp on Grand Mesa, and visited Moab.” They decided that they would settle on the Western Slope permanently as soon as his daughter Stacey graduated from high school in Casper. “In 2014, we loaded up and moved to Montrose. I love this community.”
Stacey is now a junior at the University of Wyoming, studying engineering. Her older brother Brian has been serving in the U.S. Navy for nine years.
Kevin’s wife Bobbie has a degree in accounting, and is the comptroller at Montrose Forest Products.
Kevin’s father was in the oil business, and received a promotion that took the family a long, long way from Wyoming. “When I was five, we moved to Libya. We lived in Tripoli for almost five years,” where he attended school with American, English, and Australian kids. The experience gave him an appreciation for cultural diversity. “I had to study Arabic for an hour a day, and I got to see a good side of that part of the world, that a lot of people never get to see; unfortunately, they just hear sound bites on the media.”
When the family returned to the U.S., they settled in Ohio. “When I graduated from high school, I went to college in Arizona.
“Through my 28 years in the restaurant industry, in California, I was exposed to much diversity and culture. I got to work with people in the Latino community, and the gay community.
I think that my exposure to all kinds of people from around the world gave me an insight; at the end of the day, we all have the same problems, we all face the same battles, we all bleed the same color.
There are a lot of people who just happen to come from a different culture, or religious background, or sexual orientation. People are just people, and we’re all trying to figure out this crazy thing called ‘life’.”
Kuns also credits his active youth in the Lutheran Church for his commitment to social justice and humanitarian values. He now finds expression for his spiritual side in the Community Spirit Church, a United Church of Christ congregation in Montrose.