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Marty and John Kendall win Al Mills Award

By PAULETTE LeBLANC - | Apr 7, 2021

Greater Pine Island Chamber of Commerce Board member Mel Brinson, left, recently presented the Al Mills Award to Marty, center, and John Kendall. PHOTO PROVIDED BY GREATER PINE ISLAND CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

pleblanc@breezenewspapers.com

Current board member and former Greater Pine Island Chamber of Commerce Board President Mel Brinson had the honor of presenting the Al Mills Award to Marty and John Kendall of the Calusa Land Trust at the recent chamber dinner, where the award is traditionally given to an outstanding citizen of Pine Island, and in this case, two of them.

“The award is given to a Pine Island resident found to provide outstanding service to the island community,” said Brinson. “It’s sometimes referred to as the citizen of the island for the year.”

According to Brinson, the award has been a long held tradition for islanders, voted on by the chamber board and members of the chamber along with an explanation of why the nominee should receive the award. As far as he knows, Brinson said this is the first time the award has been given jointly, as the Kendalls are involved in so many things as a team.

John, a native Michigander and Eagle Scout, received his undergraduate degree from Hillsdale College and his law degree from Vanderbilt University. He was a senior partner in a law firm in the small town of Marshall, Michigan. Active in multiple civic affairs, he is also a past president of the Marshall Rotary Club. A veteran of the U.S. Army (both active and reserve components) he retired as a full colonel.

Marty was raised in Ohio, where she received her undergraduate degree from Ohio State University and her Ph.D. from Catholic University. She was a practicing clinical psychologist likewise in Marshall, Michigan, and also active in local affairs, serving on the Marshall School Board.

In 1990, John and Marty began planning their early retirement. Possessing rural Midwestern roots, they searched for a tropical equivalent. Exhausted by condo/high rise promotions, a close friend said, “For what you want there is only one place left in Florida … Pine Island.” They visited Pine Island on a Wednesday, researched the island on Thursday, and bought their present home on Friday. Fully retired since 2000, John and Marty have collectively stayed active on the island with service to include Pine Island Garden Club (Marty is a Florida Master Gardener and Master Naturalist and president, John is vice president), Calusa Land Trust (Marty is secretary and John is president), St. Jude Harbors POA (John is president, Marty is a board member), CROW (rescue volunteers), Randell Research Center (Marty is a docent), BSA Troop 20 (John is a counselor as a scuba instructor) and Wild Child Art Gallery, where Marty presents her fabulous artwork.

In addition to all the work they’ve done with the Calusa Land Trust, Brinson said John has worked very closely with local Boy Scout Troop 20.

“I was the Scout Master of Troop 20 and he (John) got all of my scouts scuba certified. He’s a certified dive instructor, so we did all the course work at the church where we meet. John did the book instructing and testing himself. He had all the boys come to his house to do swimming pool work there and we took the scouts to upper Captiva to do the open water dives,” said Brinson. “He put in a great deal of time and effort and organized people to help, providing a good number of the scuba tanks that were used.

“Together, the Kendalls do a lot of things that involve cleaning up properties,” Brinson continued. “They’ll go into a property they’ve acquired and clean out exotics. They’re good at organizing workdays to pick up trash or do whatever needs to be done to manage and conserve the property — they’re not just administrators, they’re very much hands-on volunteers. I don’t think you’ll come across better people for citizens of the island. I think very highly of them and was really happy to see them receive the award.”