Middle Township Chamber of Commerce

In the Middle of it All
 

Annual Member Awards

2011 Business Person of the Year


Business Person Of The Year

   Bill Kindle

Kindle Ford, Dodge, Lincoln, Mercury, Suzuki, and Isuzu is a family-owned business that has been operating in Cape May County for forty-nine years. For almost fifty years the Kindle family has supported local organizations, national charities and families in need. From supporting local National Guard families during the first Gulf war to matching thousands of dollars of employee donations during the recent Katrina disaster the Kindle Ford family has helped.

Kindle Autoplaza touches the lives of large numbers of shore residents and visitors, not just employees and customers. Bill Kindle, president of Kindle Autoplaza, has been a long time volunteer at the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine. He began his efforts by supplying transportation for rehabilitated animals to new homes. That progressed to significant involvement as a board member at the center. As a unique service to the Cape Atlantic area Kindle Autoplaza hosts drive-in flu shots where residents can drive into a clean, protected environment to get their flu shots while still in their car. Over 7,000 free shots are given out every year! Accessible health care for regional residents has been a focus of the Kindle family for over fifty years. Their involvement began as a founding member of the Middle Township Rescue Squad and continues to this day with a $33,000 donation to sponsor room expansion at Burdette Tomlin Hospital. Bill Kindle also donates his time and the expense to carry out Angel Flights. This involves flying patients to distant cities for specialized care at no cost.

The Kindle family commitment to the community lives at their Cape May Court House facility. A visit there might include one of many yearly fund raisers to benefit needy children, endangered turtles, or other civic organizations and hospitals. Kindle’s community involvement continues to include quality education. The Kindles realized how important a Community College would be to Cape May County. They were involved early with a $2500 lighthouse fund raising sponsorship. And recently Kindle Ford became a silver sponsor in the Atlantic Cape Community College “Leaves for Learning” initiative. Kindle also supports various drama and culture events as well as the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts. The Kindle generosity and volunteer spirit is also evident in their extended employee family. The Kindle employees fund two scholarships for area high school seniors each year. A large percentage of the eighty-five employees carry this volunteer spirit into their personal lives. Kindle Autoplaza encourages their involvement in Scouting, civic organizations, and youth sports programs.

One particular story stands out in my memory to exemplify the Kindle family’s positive effect on the community. A few years ago Opal Cook, a single parent, was heading for two things, first-day classes at Atlantic Community College, and an end to reliance on state assistance programs. But, in the pouring rain, she ran her ’83 Marquis into another car. No one was injured but her car was totaled. The college financial aid office suggested that she call business’ and car dealers for help. No one was interested until she called Kindle. Bill Kindle decided to help. Kindle gave her a car and filled it with gas. Opal said that she was committed to return this gift by working hard in ACC and turning her life around. She continued to drive this Ford Escort for a few years while going to ACC. Kindle donated all the maintenance and repairs for her car while she was commuting to school. That car eventually wore out so Kindle gave her a newer Sable Wagon. This also helped her since her child was growing up. With continued support after graduating from ACC she received a full scholarship to Penn State University. She is now in graduate school and still drives that Sable. This is just one of the many ways that the Kindle Autoplaza family has touched the lives of people.

Our community has benefited throughout these fifty years by the generosity and sense of community involvement of the Kindle family.