He helps build community

Mullaney volunteers as coordinator for parish’s Habitat for Humanity interfaith project

APPLETON — Tim Mullaney is someone who talks to strangers on a regular basis, which comes in handy when it’s time to recruit volunteers for the various organizations he has helped over the years.

Your Catholic Neighbor: Tim Mullaney (Brad Birkholz | For The Compass)

His current efforts are for the Greater Fox Cities Area Habitat for Humanity, where he serves as the volunteer coordinator for St. Joseph Parish’s participation in Habitat’s Interfaith Builds. He has been involved in the project since it started in 2013 and St. Joseph Parish has been involved in all of the projects.

“It’s not a terribly difficult job,” he said of the coordinator position; at least not for him, since he likes people and enjoys talking to them. Mullaney occasionally makes his pitch for volunteers at Mass, through email or talking with individuals to fill the slots that are assigned to his parish.

The Greater Fox Cities Area Habitat for Humanity provides simple, decent and affordable housing for families and helps those families become homeowners. Volunteers donate their time and talents (there is training for newcomers) to build houses. The recipients, who must meet economic requirements and pay a mortgage, help with the build as they are able.

St. Joseph Parish has been involved in three different kinds of “builds.”

n Interfaith Builds, where churches of all denominations provide volunteers to build one house;

n A Catholic Build, in which all eight Catholic parishes in Appleton participated to build one house;

n A build that involved only volunteers from St. Joseph Parish.

Volunteering is not something new for Mullaney and his family. He and his wife have raised five children and he was involved with all of the activities parents do with and for their children as they go through school. After his children grew up, he said, “I wanted to stay involved. Also, I attended business seminars that had a global or holistic point of view. They emphasized making the most of your time and how you spend your time.”

Mullaney, who is a research and development manager at SECURA Insurance Co., Appleton, has also served on the St. Joseph Parish Pastoral Council for six years. He is currently a Big Brother for a fourth grader at McKinley School through Big Brothers/Big Sisters and previously served on the board of the Volunteer Center of East Central Wisconsin.

“Being on the (Volunteer Center) board was fine, but the main job is fund raising. I wanted to do something that was more direct,” he said. This led him to move away from fund raising and “to do things I could enjoy.”

Basically, he said, “I want to be a helpful person. I guess I have that retail mentality of instant gratification when it comes to helping someone.” He said, “People don’t have to do much. It feels good to do even a little,” and it helps others so much.

He is also available for “volunteer” efforts at work. When SECURA needed someone to lead a spin class, he stepped forward. “I like to exercise and they needed a leader, so I volunteered. I enjoy it,” he said. The class meets one day a week.

He has participated in about a dozen of the annual Fox Cities Marathons, which raises money for local nonprofits. While running is no longer an option, he continues to be the coordinator for SECURA’s participation in the race.

His family continues to be a very important part of his life. His children live in Appleton, Chicago, New York City, Colorado Springs, Colo., and Omaha, Neb.

Mullaney grew up with five siblings in Milwaukee, where his father was an obstetrician. “My parents had a huge influence on me with their Catholic faith. Their example of Mass attendance and the way they treated people was a strong influence,” he said. “My mother (Mary “Pink” Mullaney) was very inclusive. She also would talk to anyone, just like I do.”

He married his wife, Janice, 38 years ago at St Joseph Church in Hilo Hawaii, where she grew up. They met while attending Creighton University in Omaha, Neb. He graduated later from Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee. “So I have been formed by my Catholic education,” he said.

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Your Catholic Neighbor

Name: Tim Mullaney

Parish: St. Joseph, Appleton

Age: 63

Favorite saint: Joseph

Words to live by: “Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.”