MOUNT VERNON — “It’s a real honor to present this unsung hero award. ... This person is — and fits — that category very well,” said Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Mavis, prior to presenting this year’s award to Chuck Kindel.
Kindel has been active in the community for over 20 years. He first began to help the Knox County Humane Society in 1988, and has since served as a board member, fundraiser and grant writer. He has been a firm supporter of the society’s spay and neuter program for cats, keeping records up to date for 3,200 county residents and their cats.
Kindel has also been active with the Woodward Opera House development project, and has volunteered as a tour guide for the facility. He has served as the board’s treasurer for a number of years.
“He has a ready smile and kind and encouraging words for those who volunteer when the Woodward is open, but he also works tirelessly behind the scenes toward the vision of a fully restored Woodward Opera House,” said a fellow volunteer.
Another said, “Much of the dirty work — sweeping, cleaning, organizing storage — is accomplished by him during off hours. He also coordinates tours with the local schools, and transports, by hand, up and down three flights of stairs, the required seating to accommodate the school children and their adult supervisors.”
“It’s a real honor to be singled out for this award,” said Kindel. “So many people who work behind the scenes are deserving. There are so many far more deserving that do more than I do.
“We moved here from California in 1984,” he continued. “I had no sense of what a community is about. This is a great town for volunteers.”
The award is named after Eleanor Wright, who for many years cared for the grave of Dan Emmett. For over 35 years she made sure Emmett was honored by ensuring the gravesite was cleaned and maintained, and flowers planted.
The award honors those volunteers who work selflessly and tirelessly behind the scenes, following the tradition of Wright. In addition to Wright, previous winners are Curt Cree, Jim Ingerham, M.E. Carpenter, Sally Nelson, John Nixon, Carol Kilkenny and Julie Chester.