Captain Scott Kulla, U.S. Army
From: San Antonio, Texas
Nominated By: Carol Haertlein Sells
Watch Kulla's Friends and Family Video >>
>Describe Captain Kulla’s ongoing commitment and dedication to children.
Scott is the sole provider so his wife can stay home and raise their family according to their values. He gives up material items so the kids can go to Catholic school, play sports and have experiences he never had. Mostly, he gives time; he just had 4 days off from his current job as a student in the US Army Doctor of Science in Occupational Therapy (OT) Program.
Exhausted from its demands, he really needed a break, but his kids wanted to go camping (lots of work!). He put aside his needs, took the kids camping, and gave his wife a break too! He takes his girls on “daddy dates” to stay connected, crucial since he has been gone a lot. The investment has paid off; his 18 y/o daughter now calls from college, even in the middle of the night, to talk to her dad (not her mom!) for hours.
>Describe Captain Kulla’s extraordinary efforts to father from a distance during military separation.
While deployed to Iraq for 17 months, without phone or computer communication, Captain Kulla wrote his wife and children EVERY SINGLE DAY, even though he was out on patrols daily, putting in unbelievably long hours with little or no sleep.
During his recent unaccompanied portion of his Korea tour, he would get up at 4:30 every morning so he could Skype his wife and the kids; he was able to help with homework and assist with family issues and parenting decisions. With the huge time difference it was the best time of day to reach his family, yet it meant extending his day and getting up very early before working all day; again he NEVER MISSED A DAY! Even with this convenient form of communication, he also wrote letters and sent cards regularly.
>Describe Captain Kulla’s efforts to successfully balance military life and family life.
Scott’s job as fulltime student is very demanding of his time, attention, and presence. He is constantly under pressure from deadlines and "making the grade," but finds ways to put his family first. He never hesitates to rearrange his study time to pick up the kids, and almost never misses a game, concert, or school activity. This means 4:00 a.m. workouts, studying late, putting in extra hours at school, and sacrificing much needed sleep.
When his oldest went to college, he drove for 2 days, moved her in, briefly visited, then flew back at night so he could be at a combat stress course early in the morning. It would have been easy to just not take her, but he jumped through hoops to get 2 days of leave so he could see his first born off to school and yet remain faithful to his military commitment.
>Describe Captain Kulla’s efforts to mentor/strengthen other military fathers and/or military children who are separated from their fathers.
In Korea, Captain Kulla created a volunteer position in his clinic for a teenage girl who wanted medical experience. Her dad was at a different post, only home on weekends, and then deployed to Iraq. Scott mentored her and was always there to support her. Scott is an only child and his wife is the second oldest of 11 children. He took on a father-figure role with his brothers-in-law and mentored one, Bob, to join the ANG; Scott guided him to navigate MOS selection and secure educational benefits. He encouraged Bob to become an Officer and guided him in that process. Bob deployed twice and really leaned on Scott to be both father and brother for advice, comfort, and friendship. Scott was always there for Bob, during deployment, and during recent and very difficult post-deployment times.
>Are there any unique elements to Captain Kulla’s story that make him stand out?
Scott is the first in his family to complete college. His military career began as an Army Ranger, then to the 82nd Airborne. He left the Army to become an OT, then joined the ANG in the 32nd MP Co. He deployed to Iraq for 17 months and earned a Bronze Star. Upon return he went on active duty as an OT to do rehab with wounded warriors. He stood up the OT services at the Center for the Intrepid at Ft Sam. His daughter was applying to college at the same time he applied to the doctoral program. When she got discouraged, Scott was a living example of perseverance to achieve a goal. Returning to school is not easy but he uses that example for his kids to learn about goals and hard work. He has never taken the easy road in life; he is committed to his kids and sacrifices to assure their futures.