I write this letter in memory of my late friend, Ken Koval. For those of you who didn’t know Ken, he was the epitome of a volunteer and a true friend.
Ken had been volunteering his time for many years on a great number of projects and the day-to-day operations for the Town of Thomaston. Always lending his expertise and sharing his wisdom, Ken was a volunteer who actually had his own office in the Town Hall.
Of course, true to fashion for those who knew him, Ken would never accept any recognition for any of his efforts. I think Ken put in more hours some weeks than full-time personnel. Ken was all about the town of Thomaston and helping in any capacity he could.
Ken could be often seen riding his scooter down High Street in rain, sleet and yes, even when it snowed, just to get in to his office in the morning, all the while never getting paid.
But that was the way Ken was. While in his office, Ken would always find time to stop in my office daily, usually on his way home. Ken was always a huge advocate for the Police Department and even more so of his son (Det. Keith Koval) working for me.
Ken would roll in and say to me, “How’s the kid doing?” referring to his son. “Don’t be afraid to kick him in the a$@ if he needs it.” Then he’d make it to my office and one of our many conversations would start. Ken would say “what do you need today? Equipment, cars, money, more people?”
I always responded, “sure I’ll take all of it.” We would continue to talk and he’d often say with a little wink and chuckle, “There are ways around those guys upstairs you know.”
Ken always made sure the department wasn’t lacking in any areas. I’ve been here for many years now and as far as I can remember Ken was always known in the P.D. as “The Deputy.”
Ken would even call me on his cell phone from his vacations just to check in and make sure everything was OK at the department.
Ken was the type of guy who never wanted anyone doing anything for him or any kind of help from anyone. But here is where I want to talk about Ken as a person, dedicated family man and friend.
Yes, Ken was a true asset to the town of Thomaston, but more importantly, Ken was all, and I mean all, about his family. Not only his wife Barbara and son Keith, but his many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. They were Ken’s true enjoyment.
You could see it when he spoke of them, which was quite often in my office.
Ken would do anything and everything possible for any one if them. The love he had for them was evident. Every once in awhile you would catch Ken in the hallway of the Town Hall with a great-grandchild on his lap in his scooter making the rounds to visit everyone.
I’ve known Ken for many years. At first our meetings would be 95 percent business, 5 percent personal.
Over the last 15 months or so those meetings became 95 percent personal and 5 percent business. We would always end up talking about our families. He would dominate that conversation, he had a ton of family members; I’ve lost count at this point.
After Ken made sure I didn’t have any problems in the P.D. or even in my personal life, our visit with each other would come to an end. But Ken always asked the same three questions before leaving. “How them boys of yours? “How’s the wife?” To which I would reply “she’s great, doing well,” then from his scooter he would tilt his head to the side, look at me from over the top of his glasses and ask, “How’s that grandbaby of yours doing?”
Ken figured out immediately no matter what kind of day I was having in the P.D. that one question about my grandson would put a smile on my face. I’d answer “He’s fantastic. I love that little boy.”
Then the commencement of what seemed like a nine-point turnaround with that damn scooter would start. Ken would say “See ya tomorrow” as he backed into something in my office, then hit my door jamb on his way out. This was practically a daily occurrence in my office when Ken was in good health.
It was no secret that Ken’s health was failing, but little did I know that a few weeks ago as that scooter turned around, I would say “See ya Ken” for the last time.
Ken passed on September 18, 2019. I’m feeling a bit cheated now, for there will be no more visits, advice or wisdom shared.
So, Deputy, this letter/tribute is my last goodbye. It was an honor to know and work with you. But most importantly, it was my honor to have called you “My Friend.” I for one will truly miss your presence around here and the many many conversations we had.
Thank you for all you did for me and especially for the Police Department.
Rest in Peace Friend,