This week we recognize the numerous involvements of John Klein of Klein Automotive in Clintonville as this week’s Community Helper.
Not only has Klein been in the automotive industry for almost 30 years, but he’s also the president of Zion Lutheran Church in Embarrass, a board member for the ThedaCare Foundation of New London, Clintonville Rotary, a founding member of the Clintonville Area Youth Football program, and has been a coach for many various youth leagues.
“I guess it’s because I don’t say no very easily,” Klein said light heatedly. “I just try to help as much as I can with the time that I have. I’ve got four kids myself, so I try to be involved with their activities, as well as other community events.”
Klein says that he’s lucky to have a great staff at the dealership that allows him to spread his time throughout various organizations, something he’s been doing for many years.
“I think it’s just important that you’re involved in other things, whether it’s sports, kids, other people. It gives you a good sense of what’s happening in the community from a business standpoint, as well as personally feeling an obligation to give back.”
For Klein, his volunteering started with coaching and has spring boarded to other involvements from there.
“I coached soccer knowing nothing about soccer,” he explained. “Football, which is one of my loves, that’s something that kind of got it started, getting to know other parents and finding out what they’re involved in and getting involved with them for different things.”
Of his involvements, John points to coaching as one that’s meant the most to him over the years.
“Coaching is probably the most rewarding thing I’ve done,” he said. “Like I said, soccer, football, baseball, different things like that to get that instant feedback from the kids is pretty rewarding. They look at you like you’re some kind of a Greek God and I think that’s pretty neat.
After his kids have passed through the youth programs, he says that chapter of coaching has pretty much closed, but with that comes new opportunities. Klein was recently appointed to the First State Bank Board of Directors by succeeding a familiar long-time member, his father Charles Klein.
“We’ve had a pretty good relationship with the bank. My father served on the board for 22 years. I know a lot of the people involved as directors of that particular bank and that’s what led to that.”
While he is certainly well-known throughout the community for his involvements, he doesn’t do it for the recognition, rather John is just trying to give back any way he can.
“I don’t do it for any recognition, necessarily. I just do it to make sure I satisfy myself and what I can to help.”
Perhaps one of Klein’s most notable marks he’s helped leave on the community, was the instrumental role he and his wife, along with a few other community members, had with starting a youth football league several years ago in Clintonville.
“That’s something that didn’t exist previously and I think that’s been a great opportunity for kids to get some structure in their life, a little discipline and some fun,” Klein said of the program. “It’s a great time. Football is a wonderful team sport and I think that’s been important for us.”
Not only does it give kids a chance to develop team-building skills, the youth league provides kids an opportunity to play organized football right in their own backyard.
“My youngest son, we were taking him to Shawano to participate in their program the year before and recognized that there was an opportunity for us to start something here.”
It’s taking initiative and being active in the community that’s important to John, and all it takes sometimes is a little time and dedication.
“Starting those things like the football program wasn’t necessarily that hard for us to start, but from a time standpoint it was hard,” he described. “Sometimes people worry about the financial side of it and that usually just takes care of itself. It’s just people giving time and I think it’s important for us to do it as much as we can here in town rather than try to take our kids to other towns to participate in things like that.”
Giving back is just in Klein’s nature, as his work, as well as the work of other’s who donate their time, only helps to better the community.
“It feels good to do things for people, to start programs. You look back and the time flies by. You look back and all of a sudden you’ve been doing it for dozens of years and it’s very rewarding.
We take the time to recognize the community involvement of John Klein in Clintonville, this week’s Community Helper.