State VFW honors Tonganoxie police chief
Tonganoxie Police Chief Kenny Carpenter has a new jacket.
At Saturday's Veterans of Foreign Wars District meeting at the VFW Post Home in Tonganoxie, a state VFW official presented Carpenter with a monogrammed jacket and a certificate. Carpenter was selected as the organization's Police Officer of the Year at the meeting, which brought about 80 VFW officials from across the state.
"They probably felt sorry for me because I'm getting old," Carpenter said with a chuckle.
Larry Meadows, Tonganoxie VFW post commander, said the local post usually asks Carpenter to suggest a police officer whom Meadows could nominate for the state honor.
This year, the VFW went a different route.
"We decided this year not to ask the police chief, but to send his name to the state," Meadows said.
Carpenter, who is 59, has served in law enforcement for 35 years. He started his first job in Oct. 1971 with the Wyandotte County sheriff's office. He also has served many years in the military. He started in the Marine Corps and served active duty for four years beginning in 1964. He later served 20 years in the Kansas Army National Guard and has spent the last six years in the Army Reserve. He served a year in Vietnam and, more recently, served in Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
"I feel quite honored that the VFW would choose me," Carpenter said. "I think a lot of the organization and I'm a member."
"It's a very good organization. It's a very needed organization. They do a lot for veterans and for current officers also."
Because Carpenter won the state award, he is eligible for the national police officer of the year recognition, which will be announced at the VFW National Convention in July in Reno, Nev.
Meadows named district commander
During the meeting, Meadows was named district commander for Kansas' first district. The first district includes 20 VFW posts in northeast Kansas, with more than 4,300 members.
Meadows had been junior vice commander and senior vice commander in the district, a natural succession leading to district commander.
"I kept telling them 'wait until I retire,'" Meadows said.
Meadows retired from his construction business in April 2005.
Meadows will hold the office for one year. He is Tonganoxie Post 9271's first district commander in the post's history, which began about 20 years ago, Meadows said.
At the meeting, the post also received certificates for being at 100 percent membership for 15 consecutive years. The Ladies Auxiliary also received certificates in those categories.