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Q&A: Bill Kirchoff, Plainfield Town Council Vice President

Writer / Jamie Hergott

What’s your work history?

I have been retired for 15 years. I spent 33 years at PSI Energy, which became Cinergy, which became Duke. I headed up the customer service department. I took care of all the customer programs, complaints, meter readings, energy thefts, bill collections — basically, all the customer interactions. I have used that customer interface and focus being on the council.

Tell us about your family.

I have three kids. My oldest son a CPA living in Michigan. He’s a partner with his company. He has three kids. My daughter is an occupational therapist and lives near Geist. She has three boys. My youngest son lives in Plainfield and has three kids. We have six grandsons in a row. Then we have three granddaughters in a row.

What do you like about being a grandfather?

I just love watching them become their own people. They’re all different. To see them grow and become their own people really tugs at my heart. As a grandparent, you just want to help them find their niche in life.

Do you have any marriage advice?

We have been married for 55 years. My advice is to have a short memory. I also think each of you needs to have a life in common, but you also need to have things you do on your own. Six years ago, we built a new place, and we gave my wife 450 square feet of loft space. She quilts, so all her stuff is up there. That’s her space. We each have our own things we enjoy doing.

How long have you been on the council and what is your role?

I’ve been on the Plainfield Council for 19 years, 15 years as Vice-President.

My liaison is roads and streets. I decided to run on my own. When I did, I ran against an incumbent born and raised in Plainfield. We tied. I had been told there were problems with absentee ballots, so I chose to ask for a recount. They threw five of her ballots out and one of mine out, so I won by four votes. I am living proof that every vote counts. I’ve had competition each time but had no close calls since then.

What do you like most about being on the council?

Really, it’s an opportunity to serve for me. Service, hospitality and administration are all strengths of mine, and they all fit into this. I hate politics, and I’m not a politician. I don’t enjoy campaigns or raising money. But I truly enjoy serving.

What do you like most about the Plainfield community?

Even though we have more than 30,000 citizens, we still have a small-town feel. The community works together. We have a great relationship with the school corporation. We have good churches and good service clubs. We have a lot of good youth programs, trail systems, parks and recreation and more. It is just a good place to raise your kids.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I try to stay active so I play golf and pickleball. I work out a few times a week. I try to be involved and give back. After I retired, I was very active with Habitat for Humanity. I go twice a year to Appalachia to do mission work. I am Past President of the Indiana United Methodist Children’s Home. I was President of the Midwest Mission Distribution Center in Chathum, IL. I do Kairos Prison Ministry at the Plainfield Correctional Facility. I’ve done four trips for Katrina relief. I have nine grandkids so I try and support them in all they do. I’m busy, but I’d rather wear out than rust out.

What’s the best vacation you’ve ever been on?

The best trip we took was when we celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary. All our kids and all grandkids went to a huge beach house on Myrtle Beach. All 17 of us walked out the back door and onto the beach. I got to play golf with my sons and grandkids. That was to celebrate 50 years. My wife is an angel for putting up with me for all those years.

What do you want people to know about what’s coming up for Plainfield?

The downtown redevelopment is the biggest thing. We just bought around 1,500 to 1,800 acres of land south of I70, and we are working with the Fish and Wildlife Department to turn that into a nature preserve. We have big dreams for this. We plan for it to be as big as McCormick’s Creek. We’d like an educational center, an inn and all kinds of things there. Sodalis Park is part of that area now. It’s all only in the conceptual stage now, but it’s going to be wonderful.

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