Last updated: August 25. 2013 3:04AM - 254 Views

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DELPHOS — As a tour guide, Kay Ahten is in her element, moving guests from displays of wedding clothes to general store to log cabin to military displays to medical equipment at the Delphos Canal Commission Museum.Make her sit down and talk about her labors of love — the museum and missions at Trinity United Methodist Church — try and pin her down, and she squirms. As a friend lauds her work, she hides her head in her hands, barely able to accept the praise.“The bottom line is,” Ahten said, “I just want to help people.”Ahten is a Jefferson Award nominee for 2012. The local winner will be announced March 27 and represent the area in Washington, D.C.For 40 years, her work at the church has touched many lives, said Diana Ireland, who nominated Ahten for the award.“At the church, there's not a thing she's not involved in,” Ireland said. “At the museum, she's like an Energizer bunny. I'm just so impressed with her. She gives and gives.”She has served as president of Trinity United Methodist Women, headed the Missions Committee, and served as craft director at vacation Bible school and Sunday school teacher. Ahten and her husband, Ron, also planted a large garden and she sold canned produce and pies to raise money for missions.In 2005, she and Ron became trustees and volunteers at the museum, refinishing furniture and other pieces, and also doing repairs and maintenance for the museum's building. When Ron died in 2008 after a battle with cancer, Kay could have pulled back from her volunteering, but seemed to take on more, Ireland said.Everything in the museum about the history of Delphos is donated. To say that people have been generous is an understatement. The place was bursting with things, and no good space to display it. In 2010, when the museum trustees took on the task of opening up the second floor of the museum, Ahten jumped in. She drew up the organizational plan for displays and then, on bad knees, did a large part of the sanding, staining and sealing of the floors.A retired schoolteacher, Ahten said she has a love of art, history and family.“My parents, my mom especially, she liked to collect stuff. People gave her things. We would repair things to have stuff. Mom and Dad appreciated old things. Family was important,” Ahten said.Through her parents, she learned values and skills that would help her serve others. For 30 years, she and her husband canned produce sold at the Laurel Oaks craft show once a year to fund church missions. The garden now includes berries, rhubarb and a small orchard. She and Ron also refinished furniture for decades, and brought those skills to the museum.Ireland said she wanted to bring a little recognition Ahten's way, to show the appreciation of the community.“Her parents raised her to give without expecting anything back,” Ireland said. “She takes every opportunity to do something good.”

  1. Jefferson Award: Hands of a servant: Delphos woman works at church, museum

  2. Jefferson Award: Hands of a servant: Delphos woman works at church, museum

  3. Jefferson Award: Hands of a servant: Delphos woman works at church, museum
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