Pence honored at Ansonia Lumber toy contest

This was the last thing on my mind today - no hint of it ... Kenny Pence

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Ken Pence presented special gift from Burnett's Custom Woodshop at annual Ansonia Lumber toy contest. (L-R), Ryan Burnett, John Burnett, Pence and Thomas Pitman. (Gaylen Blosser photo)

ANSONIA – Ken Pence, a 93-year-old Darke County US Navy Korean War Veteran was given a surprise gift from John Burnett and son Ryan of Burnett’s Custom Woodshop at the 30th Annual Ansonia Lumber toy contest.

“This was the last thing on my mind today,” Pence said of the special gift. “No hint of it.”

Pence and Burnett traveled to Washington DC with the 2023 Darke County Veterans Services annual four-day veterans trip this past September where Pence joined Darke County Veterans Ray Beyke, and brothers Frank and Ken Baker with the honor of Wreath Laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.”

Ken Pence (L) places wreath at Tomb of the Unknown Solder, Arlington National Cemetery. (Gaylen Blosser photo)

“It was a great honor – I just couldn’t grasp the extent of it,” Pence stated. “Presidents and Kings and everybody else has done it and here little ol’ me was laying the wreath which I thought was pretty cool.”

“I know several guys, why don’t they just sign up and get on there,” Pence said of future veterans’ DC trips. “It’s a good trip – it was a very good trip.”

Also attending to help make the presentation was Darke County Veterans Services Director/CVSO Thomas Pitman.

“At 93 Kenny is the oldest person to ever go on a DC trip with us, not only this trip but all the trips that we have done,” said Pitman. “He is the oldest veteran that we have taken and he was hard to keep up with.”

“He is in great shape for his age, obviously still making toys and it was a pleasure to have him on the trip to DC, spend some time with him, and get to know him,” Pitman added.

Framed photo of Ken Pence wreath laying at Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. (Gaylen Blosser photo)

Burnett, a US Veteran designed and constructed a special frame for a photo taken of Pence and the group laying the wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and along with his son Ryan presented the gift to Pence Saturday morning at Ansonia Lumber along with friends and fellow craftsmen toy makers.

This was Pence’s 24th year entering a toy in the contest, a contest he has won many times over the years.

“I never know what I’m going to make next year until during the year sometime,” Pence noted. “I am happy I can help.”