Modified: March 04, 2013 12:58 PM
Dealer's cause: Organ donation awareness
Every day the clock ticks and Jack Kain, owner of Jack Kain Ford in Versailles, Ky., and former chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association, prays it will be the day the phone rings. On the day it finally rings a voice will tell him that the hospital has found a liver that matches the needs of one of his two daughters.
But Kain does more than pray. For the past 10 years he has donated monthly to the Trust for Life, an independent, nonprofit organization formed by the Kentucky Association of Circuit Court Clerks to support organ donation awareness among those renewing their driver's licenses.
Among those anxiously waiting is Vickie Kain Fister, operations manager for the dealership, who needs a liver. Her sister, Becky Kain Grimes, who works for the FBI in Louisville, needs a liver and a kidney.
"It only costs a dollar for people in Kentucky to join the registry. If they cannot pay in my county, I pay. They become an organ donor, the sticker goes on the back of their license," Jack Kain said. "For every person that donates an organ and saves a life, I figure it is worth every dollar we spent."
Robust at 83, Kain continues to serve as a state director for NADA. Since 1996 he has left daily management of his Ford dealership to Fister and his sons, Bob Kain, general manager; Bill Kain, sales manager; and Pat Kain, fleet services manager. Together they retail approximately 1,000 new and used cars a year. Even the loss of his 55-year-old daughter, Suzanne Hockensmith, to liver disease last March didn't deter his involvement in a wealth of charities. It strengthened his resolve.
"I'd like to get every dealer in NADA to take on the cause of organ donations because we sell the vehicles that travel on the nation's roads," Jack Kain said. "At least 90 percent of organ donations -- from eyes to livers to knees -- come from car accident victims. If even one person donates an organ as a result of our efforts, we've saved a life."
For decades, Kain has had many philanthropic pursuits plus economic development and community activities that have touched the lives of thousands of people in Woodford County.
But the Trust for Life is personal, and he wants it to be his legacy.
The organization's board members agree. "I can't think of anyone who has done as much as Jack Kain to support the Kentucky organ donor awareness program," said Tricia Kittinger, a retired circuit court clerk and board member of the Trust for Life since 1997. "He is a phenomenal man."