OXFORD, MA – Hometown Bank’s Everyday Hometown Hero for October, Bill Kessler says the driving force behind his volunteer activities in the community of Athol over the years has been the many opportunities he’s had to help make Athol a better place.
Kessler’s connection to the town goes back about a century. His grandfather moved to Athol in 1916, where he worked for L.S. Starrett, and raised three children. In the 1950’s, Bill’s parents moved out of town and it wasn’t until years later that Kessler was drawn back to Athol to raise his own family. “Affordable housing brought us here,” he says, “but what kept us here was that it was a wonderful place for kids to grow up.”
Kessler joined the Athol Rotary in 1996, saying “I was looking for an organization that allowed me to meet other local business people and community leaders, but what I found was lots of wonderful friendships and a multitude of opportunities to help make Athol an even better place.” Like his grandfather, who served as Rotary president in 1935, Kessler is also a past president of that service organization and now serves as its membership chair.
The Athol Area YMCA, where his three sons have worked and volunteered, is of particular importance to this month’s honoree. He has just completed a 3-year term as president of that organization’s board of directors. “The YMCA provides sports activities, after school and preschool programs for local kids,” Kessler says, “and actively promotes healthy living skills, youth development and social responsibility. The organization also provides numerous summer camping and day camp opportunities for kids at Camp Selah, in Tully, MA and Camp Wiyaka, in Richmond, N.H.” Each year, Kessler chairs a dinner dance to help raise funds to underwrite membership in the organization for needy local youngsters.
In addition to the Rotary and YMCA, Kessler is a member of the Athol Chamber of Commerce and the North Quabbin Lodge of Freemasons, past president of the Chuck Stone Little League, a former Scoutmaster for Troop 8 at the Athol Congregational Church, and past president of the Athol Lions Club. “I’ve just always enjoyed helping out” he says.
At his request, a donation has been made to the North Quabbin Lodge of Freemasons Angel Fund in his honor.
Hometown Bank is a $400 million mutual bank with branch offices in Athol, Auburn, Leominster, Oxford, South Lancaster, Sturbridge and two locations in Webster. To nominate an Everyday Hometown Hero from your community, visit the Hometown Bank website at www.hometowncoop.com.
Photo Cut Line: Hometown Bank’s Everyday Hometown Hero for October, Bill Kessler, of Kessler Investments, with Athol Branch Manager, Marc Ostberg.