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Citizen of the Year

Citizen of the Year

On Monday, November 14, the Kernersville Chamber of Commerce announced Kernersville Alderman Bill Apple as the 2022 Citizen of the Year during the Chamber’s annual awards banquet.
The Citizen of the Year Award recognizes an individual for the contributions made to the community during the current year.
During this year’s banquet, event emcee and Kernersville Police Department Lieutenant Damien Marotz said, “Contributions both big and small, this year’s recipient is someone who has made a difference in our community for quite a while.”
Marotz noted that this year, Apple began making larger decisions.
“Always thoughtful and intentional, he has earned the respect of our community honestly,” Marotz remarked. “Our Christmas Parade will be so much better as he will be our Grand Marshal this year.”
Upon receiving the award, Apple said he was flabbergasted.
“As Chris Comer was reading the citation, I had already picked out two people in the room who were the worthiest candidates for the Citizen of the Year Award,” he said, not thinking his name would be called. “Receiving this award was so very gratifying, although I really don’t feel worthy of this honor. Kernersville has so many ‘Citizens of the Year,’ I truly can think of many people who could, and perhaps should, wear this honor. But to me, it represents affirmation that perhaps some of the things to which I devote my time really matter to those whom I serve, and that means everything to me.”
While he feels very connected to the Kernersville Board of Alderman, Apple said one of the organizations in the community he has volunteered with that he feels the most connected to is the Kernersville Lions Club.
“I first joined the Lions Club in 1980 in Reidsville, immediately after I graduated from law school. The service that organization renders to Kernersville and surrounding areas is nothing short of inspiring. I particularly am proud of the Lions’ vision screening program, which is offered to all area schools, for preschool and other younger students. This screening program identifies, and pays for, an additional eye examination by a great team of local optometrists, and if the child is not able to afford his/her own eyeglasses, the Lions pay for those, too,” he said. “This is an investment in the future success of our children.”
Apple noted that with his service through the Kernersville Lions Club, he served two terms as president.
Apple added that the Kernersville 2020 Strategic Planning Committee, on which he served several years ago, has certainly provided a blueprint for the continued and carefully-planned development of Kernersville, adding that this committee is another one that he feels very connected to.
Along with the Board of Aldermen, Kernersville Lions Club, and the 2020 Strategic Planning Committee, Apple has also served other organizations and nonprofits in the community at Main Street United Methodist Church, Board of Directors for the Kernersville Little Theatre, Board of Directors for The Shepherd’s Center of Kernersville, Kernersville Downtown Preservation and Development Committee (KDPDC), the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention through sponsorship and participation in the organization’s annual walk, and on the Board of Trustees for Annie Penn Hospital in Reidsville and the Moses Cone Health Systems Board in Greensboro.
In volunteering his time, Apple said what he enjoys most is helping others.
“What I enjoy is observing that so many of our groups and organizations have identified targeted needs within our citizenry, whether that be The Salvation Army food bank, Rotary sponsorship of so many meaningful programs, or the Kernersville Cares for Kids success,” he said. “I truly am motivated by seeing others helped in so many ways, and by the careful planning that goes on behind the scenes to provide this assistance to our folks.”
Apple said serving as an alderman has been very rewarding.
“My colleagues on the Board are all so dedicated to building and sustaining the Kernersville that our citizens desire. We have been presented with many unique challenges since we took office in December 2021. Each matter that comes before us represents a new way to make our town a better place to live. I am thoroughly convinced that every member of our Board of Aldermen deeply cares about our community,” he shared. “Each member does his or her homework thoroughly before voting on any issue before us. And the things that distinguish our individual backgrounds and experiences simply make our decision-making process much more effective.”
He continued.
“We have different ideas and philosophies, of course, but that brings unique strength to our decision-making process. We don’t allow those differences to create controversy among us. At the end of the day, we make collective decisions on which we all stand shoulder-to-shoulder, as a governing body.”
Apple grew up in Reidsville and moved to Kernersville in March 2002 with his wife, Susan Rogers Apple. Apple has two children Mara Apple O’Neil and the late Lindsay Apple. He has three grandchildren, Avery, Ella and Thomas. Apple noted that it is because of Lindsay, who died about 13 years ago, that they are so passionate about the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. He also has two stepchildren, Katherine Howell and Will Howell.
Apple graduated with an undergraduate in business administration from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1973, and returned to complete law school and the MBA program in 1980, at that same institution. He retired after 40 years of practicing law as a divorce/family law attorney.
He mentioned that he punctuated his legal career with about seven years of service as a community bank executive, ultimately being elected president of First National Bank of Reidsville.
“In addition, I had the privilege and honor of serving in the United States Air Force, ultimately as a JAG officer,” he said, noting that he retired from the Air Force Reserve as a Lt. Col. after 26 years of service, as well as four years of ROTC at Chapel Hill. “I also had the pleasure of graduating from the American Bankers’ Association Stonier Graduate School of Banking at the University of Delaware around 1987.”
Apple now works as a certified mediator/arbitrator with Apple Mediation, LLC.
While he still enjoys volunteering and working as a certified mediator/arbitrator, Apple said he enjoys resting after a full day, which includes spending time with his wife and their dogs, Molly and Pheobe, and taking guitar lessons.

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