At the Torch Foundation’s January 2013 teleconference, the Foundation’s Treasurer, Dick Lynch,
announced that the Torch Foundation had its first fully paid-up lifetime membership and 9 other
members who have pledged to the program. The following is an interview with Francis Moul, Ph.D., who
became the Foundation’s first lifetime member.
(STT) Dr. Moul, before we get into what motivated you to become a lifetime member of the Torch
Foundation, why don’t you tell our audience a little bit about yourself.
(FM) Born 1940 at York, NE, 5th generation Nebraskan on both sides, Fulbright scholar, PhD in
environmental history, reporter/publisher/college faculty and administrator/used book dealer/writer,
survived hairy cell leukemia, McGovern Democrat, agnostic Methodist, overweight, grandfather, and a
lucky husband of a former Lieutenant Governor of NE.
(STT) When did you become a member of Torch?
(FM) In 1989, with slight hiatus as vice-president, Chadron (NE) State College
(STT) What was it about Torch that motivated you to join?
(FM) Someone asked me to come to a dinner; I liked what I saw and stayed on.
(STT) And so, you have been a member of Torch for 16 years. When did you first attend a Torch
Convention?
(FM) It was in Hagerstown, MD, in 2011.
(STT) So few of our Torch members attend our yearly conventions. Why don’t you tell me why you
decided to attend and what was your first experience like?
(FM) The book fair they scheduled attracted me first since I had a book on the National Grasslands I
wanted to sell, plus I like to take summer road trips. I have attended many national conventions and
conferences in my life, including two Democratic National Conventions. But never have I felt as
welcomed and made friends as fast as at Hagerstown. Plus the tour of Antietam battlefield was
magnificent.
(STT) I can see why you have continued to come to the IATC conventions. You really have jumped into
the Torch experience with both feet. In fact, it is my understanding that you are an active ambassador
for Torch and have been instrumental in helping to establish new Torch clubs in your home state of
Nebraska. Tell us your experiences in doing this.
(FM) I organized two clubs, Kearney and Hastings, NE. At Hastings we attracted the Hastings College
president as a member and he is sponsoring two student leaders as members. Also, we have more
couples than single people as members. Since then, at the Lincoln club I recruited the president of Union
College and he is also sponsoring two students. We are now working on two other new clubs in
Nebraska, and meeting with colleges.
(STT) Let’s shift our attention now to the Torch Foundation. When did you first learn about the
Foundation?
(FM) At Hagerstown, I attended a board meeting, bought a membership and offered a couple of ideas,
one being to institute $500 lifetime members. I have since become the first lifetime member fully paid
up. I now sit in on the teleconference trustee meetings and offer ideas.
(STT) Yes, you certainly do offer ideas, and good ones at that. You have become an active participant in
Torch Foundation Trustee meetings even though you currently hold no position other than a Foundation
member. You must feel that the Foundation is an important part of your Torch experience for you to
devote your time to this endeavor.
(FM) I have volunteered and done part-time work for many, many years as a charity fund raiser and it is
easy to continue that with the Torch Foundation.
(STT) As you pointed out, the concept of lifetime membership in the Torch Foundation was your idea.
Why do you think this concept is an important one?
(FM) It would mean more money for the Foundation, which in turn would mean that the Foundation
could do more good for Torch with that income.
(STT) Well, you certainly put your money where your mouth is. You developed the concept, convinced
the Board of Trustees to adopt your idea and were the first person to pledge to become a lifetime
member of the Foundation. To me, that is dedication. What would you say to convince other Torch
members to follow your lead?
(FM) Be generous, especially if you enjoy Torch. The Torch Foundation is beginning to put up money for
worthwhile projects that will benefit Torch, allowing clubs to go into new and invigorating directions.
(STT) And I know that you are already advocating programs to move the Foundation into worthwhile
endeavors to insure that Torch will be there for the next generation of club members. Where would you
like to see the Torch Foundation in several years?
(FM) I would like to see an endowment of several hundred thousand dollars, a majority of Torch
members as Foundation members, and a Torch building as headquarters.
(STT) Wow!!! That last idea would have been beyond my wildest dreams. Francis, I want to thank you for
your time, and especially for exhibiting such enthusiasm and dedication for Torch and especially for the
Torch Foundation. Again, congratulations being the first person to pledge and complete your obligation
to become a Lifetime Member of the Foundation.
(FM) Go Big Torch