End of an Era

It is with deep regret that the Coalition shares the passing of our Chairman Phil Fultz. Phil died after complications from major surgery. A founding member of the Coalition, he was the face of our efforts and a driving force behind its success over the past 36 years.

In addition to his leadership, Phil served as a tireless advocate for adult literacy, a tutor for those needing help and as a contributor the MBCAL newsletter. He firmly believed literacy is fundamental for success in life, and one of his most important legacies is reflected in the students he tutored whose lives were changed forever by what Phil called his "toolbox" for learning to read .

Phil was a retired Marine Corps officer who served tours in Viet Nam. He also retired from 29 Palms Marine Corps base's Marine Corps Community Services office. He leaves a widow, Anita. His death follows the February demise of board member Kelvin Easterling.

His love of community was reflected in the many organizations to which he gave so generously of his time and professionalism. He was a member of the Kiwanis and Masons, as well as a past member of the 29 Palms Water Board, and the Copper Mountain College Board of Trustees.

Kathy Truesdell is serving as the Coalition's interim president along with fellow board members MJ Fiocco and Anita Fultz.


Board of Directors
Phil Fulz, Chariman

Philip Fultz, Chairman

Phil Fultz had his first experience with an illiterate adult while serving in the Marine Corps; a Marine who could only make his mark on the line calling for his signature upon getting paid. That picture never left him, and years later when a local literacy group was being formed in 1984, Phil joined and continues as an officer of the Morongo Basin Coalition for Adult Literacy, and more importantly as a tutor.

Contact Phil.

Kathy Truesdell, Secretary/Treasurer

A former school teacher, Kathy Truesdell tutors local non-readers and believes that literacy can help to overcome poverty. "After two years at the University of California at Davis, I finished my BA at UC Riverside and then got a teaching credential at Hayward State. I taught in Ohio for a year and then married a National Park Ranger and spent the next twenty years or so moving to six different parks in different states while raising two daughters. We finally settled in Twentynine Palms, where my husband retired. I volunteered as a tutor when the California Literacy Campaign came to the Twentynine Palms Branch Library in 1984 and have been active tutoring and/or on the board ever since."

Contact Kathy.

MJ Fiocco, Director

MJ Fiocco joined the Board in November 2019. She has been supporting Copper Mountain College's English As a Second Language (ESL) program as a tutor since 2017. She enjoys helping students improve their skills in their adopted language and navigate the intricacies of English grammar. MJ retired to Twentynine Palms in 2016 after spending a 40-year career in Washington, DC.

Contact MJ.

Kelvin Easterling, Director

Kelvin Easterling, spends his time promoting literacy for adults as a Community Outreach Ambassador as well as volunteering as a tutor.

" We at the Morongo Basin Coalition for Adult Literacy are very sorry to hear of Kelvin's passing. He was always a great supporter of teaching adults to read and volunteered in many ways to bring books and tutoring to those people in need of reading help. We will miss him greatly. Our condolences to his family."

Phil Fultz
Kathy Truesdell
MJ Fiocco

Feb 27, 2020

Kelvin Easterling, a loving friend to all and longtime faithful member of Calvary Baptist Church, went to be with his Lord last week.

Whether it was Vacation Bible School, Kings Kids Clubs or Evangelistic Outreach, Kelvin displayed his selfless servant's heart every week through the ministry of his church family, who was truly his strongest bond in life. He is remembered by other church members as "faithful, cheerful, considerate, affectionate, and friendly." Pastor Kuhlman, of Calvary Baptist Church notes that "a main piece of the church's fabric has been lost in Kelvin's passing."

Kelvin also had a heart for the city of Yucca Valley and the surrounding communities. As a resident of Joshua Tree and Yucca Valley over the years, Kelvin did what he could to show tangible, genuine love to others in the community. He did this through volunteering his time to promote literacy through the Morongo Basin Coalition for Adult Literacy, frequently attending City Council meetings and attending city planned events throughout the year.

A memorial for Kelvin will be held at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, March 1, at Calvary Baptist Church in Yucca Valley.

All who knew Kelvin are invited to come.