Have You Met Steve Hulsman?
A man with a heart for missions, Steve Hulsman is convinced that he gains countless blessings from volunteering. “It has been wonderful for me to serve the poor, and it has been even more important in the lives of my children, especially my teenage boys. I’ve see them grow in the perspective that many poor children who have nothing are happier than American kids who have everything. My kids see that ‘things’ are not the most important value in life, and that having things often just makes you want more!”
A personal injury and class action lawyer with Lewis and Roca LLP, Steve has been associated with Weekend Missions, Inc., for about 4 years, and is now on the advisory board. This nonprofit organizes short term mission trips to Rocky Point, Mexico, where they provide for the physical and spiritual needs of the poor, widowed, and orphaned. “I love this organization. My family and I go on 3 or 4 trips a year, and my kids sometimes take friends with them.” A typical trip lasts about two and a half days, and the group is currently involved in dozens of projects in the area.
As Steve describes his commitment, “I had spent my whole volunteer life with different churches, and had never gone on a mission trip until I went to Honduras a few years ago. That trip changed my life and, in particular, how I view the poor in the world. Previously, I had actually never thought too deeply of the problems of the poor, and I felt like the challenges of the poor were too enormous for one person to make much of a difference.
My defining moment in Honduras was walking through a village which my church had provided with a clean water system and interacting with little children who I realized were alive because of what we did there. I suddenly understood that we can make an enormous difference in the lives of the poor - one person or even one village at a time. When I returned to the United States, I was looking for an opportunity to do mission trips with my family. I saw an ad for Weekend Missions, and decided to try the experience. It’s been wonderful!”
Steve grew up near Cleveland, Ohio, but has been an Arizona resident for 24 years now. “I was tired of the cold and snow, and fell in love with the Southwest. I’ve lived here almost half my life now. What I enjoy most, besides the weather, is all the hiking, camping, and outdoor activities we can experience here. I love the different panoramas we have, from the desert and canyons, to the mountains. Arizona is also a relaxed place, and it has been a good business climate for me.” A hard-working lawyer, Steve is rated by Martindale-Hubbell as an “AV/Preeminent Attorney”, is listed in the Best Lawyers in America, and was selected for membership in 2010 in Arizona’s Finest Lawyers. He lives in Tempe with his wife, Lora, and his kids, Tyler, Jason, and Sara.
He refIects on his volunteer work, “Many times I find myself thinking that while we are doing something good for others, my family is receiving spiritual blessings even more than the physical work and monetary donations we’re giving. Volunteering is a satisfying way to keep a proper perspective of what’s really important in life. Life here is short; eternity is long.”
Steve offers a word of advice for those considering volunteering, “You will always have an excuse for not volunteering. Some are good excuses, some are really lame. Sometimes it seems easier to just give a few dollars than to overcome your fear and step out into real service. But you need to overcome all these excuses and make serving others a priority. You will not regret it!”
What are your local volunteer activities? Weekend Missions; occasional speaker at churches like Bridge Community Church in Laveen. Past Board President of Crisis Pregnancy Center and Mountain Park Community Church
Who inspired you to give back to your community? My parents & my former pastor, Robin Wood
Which fundraising event is your favorite? The golf marathon I played in many years ago – I played something like 120 holes in a day. It was awesome.
Favorite restaurant? Not sure – not a big priority to me. Maybe Friday’s at the Ballpark. Actually, my wife is the best cook ever.
Who do you most admire, and why? My dad. He gave his life to serving God, others, and his family. He worked hard, was honest, was fun, and had great faith.
Do you have any pets? Two dogs, Mylie (a pomadoodle, aka poopadoodle) and Angel (a Samoyed)
When you move, what will your home tell its next owner about you? That I have great taste in women, that is, my wife Lora, who is wonderful at everything, including decorating.
What's the best lesson you're learned through the years? Multiple lessons: Listen for God’s calling and act on it. Surround yourself with a great team. Better to surprise than disappoint. Better to ask forgiveness than permission.
What was your first job? Working with my dad, cutting grass, painting, and everything that needed doing around a small apartment complex
What is your greatest indulgence? Exercise.
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement? Having a great marriage and great kids.
What is the quality you most like in people? Hard-working, dependable, honest, straight-forward, humble, relaxed, fun. Expect a lot from yourself, give yourself away, and don’t take yourself too seriously.
Favorite books / Writers? Bible, first. Then history books by people like Hampton Sides, such as Blood & Thunder. Many others
What is the trait you most deplore in others? Snooty, hauty. Plus, hypocritical, closed minded-ness from people who pretend to be open minded and progressive.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? Exercise, being with my family, travel.
What would we be most surprised to know about you? I like going barefoot in the office. I drive a 10 year old car and love it – everyone keeps telling me to buy a new one, and I don’t want to.
What is the best advice you have ever received? Love God, serve others. Gather smart people around you. And coming out of law school, “Pick the city you like, over the firm you like. You can change firms a lot easier than changing cities.” That advice brought me to Phoenix where I immediately changed firms.
What are some challenges facing nonprofits? Fundraising in tough economic times. Staying focused on your core service mission as the organization expands and more people get involved. Finding people who want to make a difference and having a system in place that motivates rather than stifles them.
What is your most treasured possession? I’m not a big “things” person. But maybe some of the stuff I have that was my Dad’s. He died in 1991.