Every community has that special someone who goes above and beyond to support the people and programs of their hometown. Trigg County has been fortunate to have Mr. Chappel Allen fill that role for many years. This article is my feeble attempt to say thank you to him, on behalf of all of us. It should be noted that I had to get most of my information for this article from Chappel’s daughter Jill, since he is not one to talk about or list his contributions to the community.
Chappel Allen grew up at the mouth of Muddy Fork and Little River in Trigg County. It would be an understatement to say that he did not grow up in the lap of luxury. Chappel said, “My parents were great Christian people but we didn’t have much. Every so often flash floods would come and wash my fathers crops away. We were poorer than church mice.” Chappel was very involved in sports at Trigg County High School, as he was an outstanding basketball and football player. As a matter of fact, he said, “If it wasn’t for sports I would have probably quit school. Sports kept me involved.” After graduation from Trigg County in 1954, he attended Southern Illinois University at their Alton campus. It was there that he met Karen Murphy. Fast forward to the now and they have been married 53 years.
At one time, Chappel had a strong desire to be a high school football coach. Before he started toward that career, he began work at a tool and die shop. He quickly found that the tool and die business paid better than being a coach. In 1970 he opened up Cadiz Machine and Tool on Nunn Blvd. in Cadiz. The shop had three employees counting himself. That was the start of a life of giving back to the community of Trigg County. In 1977, Chappel purchased Viking Engineering on Glenwood Mill Road and employed 21 people. He renamed his business Kentucky Machine and Engineering at that time. KME now employs 58 people. Their sister plant, CGS in Bowling Green, employs 42 people. It doesn’t take a mathematician to figure that Chappel’s business has grown from 3 employees to 100. As Mr. Chappel’s business success increased over the years, so did his giving back to Trigg County. I hope we, as citizens of Trigg County have not taken his generosity for granted. Consider the number of people he has touched, through supporting the following programs, for what is now a few decades:
Athletes in Action Christian Basketball Team, Cadiz Baptist Church, Car Washes (supports them all), Civitans Club, Hospice, Janice Mason Art Museum, Kentucky Machine Christmas Basketball Tournament (sole sponsor), Lions Club, Murray State Athletics, Post 68 Youth Baseball Team, Project Graduation, Reindeer Run for Bright Life Farms, Rotary Club (former longtime member and contributor), Senior Citizens Projects, Take Kids Fishing Day, Toys for Tots, TCHS Baseball Diamond Club, TCHS Baseball Florida Meals, TCHS Century Club, TCHS Teams that advance to state competition, Thomas/Bridges Association, Trigg County Band Contributor, Trigg County Ham Festival (annual buyer of one of the top hams), Trigg County Powerlifting Team Sponsor, Trigg County Schools Academic Banquet Sponsor, Trigg Recreation Complex (sponsor of up to four teams a year at times), Wildcat Chevrolet Bowl Games (secondary sponsor), WKDZ broadcast of football and basketball games sponsor, WKDZ Saturday Morning Sports Show sponsor and other miscellaneous programs and events.
I asked Mr. Chappel, ”Why do you give back so much to so many?” His response was very simple, “For me, being able to give is just one of the most enjoyable things I do. It is all about the kids and people. It is truly a blessing to be able to give to and support the many outstanding programs in Trigg County. ”
Consider the following quotes:
Tim McGinnis, Trigg County Schools Superintendent, said, “When someone mentions Chappel Allen, I always think of ‘generosity’ and ‘service above self.’ I often recall a conservation with Mr. Allen, as to why he so willingly supports our students and our programs. In his personal walk, he vividly remembers the opportunities afforded him through his educational and co/extra curricular opportunities and experiences while in school. He credits many of these opportunities for his successes in life. He loves children and so generously supports the creation of wholesome opportunities for the youth of our community. I have both tremendous respect and appreciation for Mr. Allen.”
Trigg County Athletic Director Jim Perrin said, “I have been involved in sports programs for over 40 years at different schools. I have never seen anyone give as much to a community as Mr. Chappel Allen. The unique thing about Mr. Allen is that it is more than just his tremendous financial support. He is also a regular in the stands at Trigg County sporting events.”
Maybe the most special aspect of Mr. Chappels’ giving is that he never asks for anything in return. There are never any stipulations attached with the gift or any desire for recognition. Also, his business is unique in that it doesn’t stand to attract any new customers from his advertising or gifts.
With all this said, I just thought of the perfect Christmas gift that we as a community could give to Mr. Chappel Allen. How about a THANK YOU! If you ever played for or against a KME team or ever benefited by being a member of any of the organizations listed above, simple say thank you. Pick up the phone, drop a card or email, or stop him on the street. His office should be flooded with calls this Christmas season.
If the old adage is true that it is better to give than to receive, then Mr. Chappel Allen truly is a wealthy man.
Overtime: An early happy birthday wish to Mr. Chappel who turns 75 (the new 55) on Jan. 2nd 2010.
Double Overtime: Later articles will detail other super boosters in our community.
Makes the Difference
Mike Wright is the head coach of boys basketball and cross country at Trigg County High School. For the time being, emails concerning Coach’s Corner can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.