Lacey Mayor Andy Ryder could not help but become emotional while awarding the city’s highest honor, the Spirit of Lacey Award, to the late Ken Balsley.
During the council meeting on Thursday, Ryder started the meeting honoring Balsley; the majority of the agenda items for the day were dedicated to the late Balsley.
“Usually, we think of May 4 as Star Wars Day, but from now on, I will think of this day as Ken Balsley Day,” said Ryder.
The city council extended its appreciation to Balsley for his more than 50 years of “exceptional volunteerism within our community.”
“His legacy of commitment to his community will have lasting benefit for many generations,” the award read.
Ryder also noted his personal relationship with Balsley, calling him a “constant” in his life during his own public service work.
“He has been this constant in my life. When you think of Lacey, and you talk to people who have been active in our community for a while, everyone knows Ken,” said Ryder.
“Everyone knows Ken is Mr. Lacey.”
Balsley’s widow, Jan Teague, received the award on Ken’s behalf.
“I know he would be so proud to know how much he was admired by the officials and and his friends and his community,” said Teague.
She also reiterated Ken’s request during the last time that he attended a council meeting: “Don’t forget to build the new Lacey Museum.”
The city council then presented a video presentation in honor of Balsley.
Balsley passed away on February 28, 2023.
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