At the annual Christmas at the Academy party held on December 14, Gilmour presented its 2013 Alumni of the Year Awards to Bob Heltzel ’65 and Kristin Franco Kirkpatrick ’94. Heltzel is the retired president of Kenilworth Steel Company and a loyal supporter and trustee of the Academy. Kirkpatrick is the manager of Wellness Nutrition Services at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute and has served as a mentor to multiple Gilmour students. The awards honor Gilmour graduates who have distinguished themselves in their personal lives and careers and who have demonstrated leadership and service to the school.
Heltzel graduated from Gilmour in 1965 and then graduated from John Carroll University in 1970. He retired from Kenilworth Steel, a carbon and alloy steel plate provider in 2006, but contributed as a consultant for several years following his retirement.
Heltzel joined the Gilmour Board of Trustees this year, but has been a loyal supporter of the school for years. Most recently, Heltzel and
his wife, Heidi, have established an endowed scholarship at Gilmour for students living in the Cleveland metropolitan area and beyond. The scholarship is named the Thomas O. Callaghan Scholarship in honor of Heltzel’s classmate and longtime friend Tom Callaghan ’65, who passed away in November 2012.
Heltzel is involved in a number of other civic organizations as well. He currently serves on the board of directors at John Carroll University; on the board of Boys Hope Girls Hope Cleveland; as president of Values and Visions Foundation of Trumbull County Parochial Schools; and on the board of Payroll 1, Detroit, Michigan. In 2000, he received the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice medal from Pope John Paul II, which is the highest honor a member of the laity can receive from the pope and is awarded for distinguished service.
The Heltzels have five daughters and five grandchildren. Two of their daughters, Jennifer Farrior ’91 and Katie Ricotti ’93, attended Gilmour as did their son-in-law, Brett Schumacher ’01.
As manager of Wellness Nutrition Services at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute, Kristin Kirkpatrick oversees all the nutrition-related aspects of the Center for Lifestyle Medicine; consults with universities, hospitals and corporate clients on wellness programming; manages the nutrition criteria for the Cleveland Clinic’s proprietary food label, Go!; and works on Wellness Institute strategic planning with the Cleveland Clinic’s Chief Wellness Officer Dr. Michael Roizen.
She is an experienced presenter, an award-winning dietitian, an author and a regular television guest on local and national shows, as well as a contributor to several national magazines and newspapers. The Huffington Post just named Kirkpatrick “one of 25 diet and nutrition experts you need to follow on Twitter.” She is a regular contributor on “The Dr. Oz Show,” serves on his advisory board, writes for The Huffington Post, is the nutrition advisor on the YouBeauty website and is a featured expert on The Cleveland Clinic’s Health Hub. She can be found quoted in newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Martha Stewart Living, Fitness, Women’s Health, Women’s Day and Self. She has also been a featured expert on “NBC Nightly News” and CNN Health.com.
After graduating from Gilmour in 1994, Kirkpatrick graduated from The George Washington University in 1998. She then received her master’s degree in health promotion management from The American University and completed the dietetics coordinated program at the University
of Akron in 2005.
She has been actively involved with Gilmour since she began her career and frequently serves as a mentor to Gilmour students looking to do internships in the health management field. She has also participated in several on-campus career workshops designed to expose students to a variety of career options.
She and her husband, Andy, have a son, Jake, who will begin at Gilmour’s Lower School in the fall of 2014.
The ceremony began with a welcome from Gilmour’s Alumni Association president Brett Schumacher ’01. Then, Kirkpatrick’s brothers, Jeff ’88 and Brian ’90 Franco, had the crowd laughing as they described their coming to terms with the fact that their baby sister was named Alumni of the Year by the school from which they all graduated. They went on, though, to discuss all the reasons she deserved the award, talking about the hard work she has put into her career and, as a result, the scores of people whose
lives she has impacted through her wellness
and nutrition initiative. Jeff Franco described her as the embodiment of vocation.
Kirkpatrick accepted the award, presented
by her brothers on behalf of Gilmour Academy. She thanked her husband, Andy, for his tireless support, and her parents, Irving and Arlene Franco, for their love and dedication over the years and for making it possible for her to attend Gilmour Academy, which she credits as molding her into the person she has become and instilling in her a sense of confidence.
Schumacher then introduced the two men who would present Heltzel with his award, classmates and lifelong friends, Chip Dawson ’65 and Tom Eby ’65. They both regaled the crowd with witty portrayals of Heltzel before discussing his many accolades and attributes. Describing him as a man of faith and a man for others, as well as virtuous, perseverant, courageous, generous and wholly dedicated to his family and friends, they spoke of the many causes to which he has dedicated his time and treasure. They then presented Heltzel with the award, which Heltzel accepted on the condition that he was doing so on behalf of the entire class of ’65.
He thanked the Academy and expressed his love for his wife, Heidi, and their five daughters. He then spoke of the blessings of being a Gilmour man. He said, “My path was paved with 49 other classmates. What gave me the strength to pursue when it was easy to give up was faith, family and friends – and the rest is just stuff.”