Ken grew up in Wilmington, Delaware and went to school for Hotel Manage-ment and Marketing. He has managed hotels, sold real estate, owned a business, and worked to develop the Comcast Self-Install Cable Modem program. Now he’s the Facilities and Communications/Information Systems Manager at Epworth United Methodist Church in Rehoboth Beach.
Having played ice hockey for 25 years, as a goalie, Ken says that’s the true reason for his bad knees. He was also an ice hockey referee. As he puts it, “I love to laugh, I mean really laugh…cry laughing.” A cancer survivor, he refers to a “God-experience” and isn’t afraid of what will happen when he dies.
Ken also talks to other drivers…“as if they can hear me—OK, I shout…you don’t belong in a driving simulator, let alone behind the wheel of a real car.”
Ken and his partner, Glen Pruitt, reside in Rehoboth with their two dogs, Ben and Jerry. He’d like to be “the person who my dogs think I am.” Ken and Glen’s new house has a “friendly spirit who resides with us. Ben really likes her, she plays tricks on Glen.”
When did you start volunteering at CAMP?
1995. I was 36 years old and had just come out of the closet. I was pretty shy still, yes—Kenny Mahan—shy. But, I wanted to get to know what was going on and what I had missed by not being honest with myself about who I was for far too long.
What’s your best memory volunteering here?
The people. I’ve met so many people from so many different backgrounds. I love doing the specialty things that make events “happen.” An event is like a duck swimming upstream. Everything looks calm on top of the water, but the duck is paddling like hell under the water. It’s fun to do the paddling.
Of the many events held by CAMP Rehoboth, which is your favorite and why?
Volunteering at Sundance has always been the most fun. I help with the Live Auction and enjoy it because it’s an entirely different perspective when you’re on the stage looking out at the bidders, and not in the audience. “Will I use it?”, “Should I spend that much?”, “Aw hell, it’s for charity!” You can see all of that on their faces from the stage.
Favorite season here at the beach and why?
Bear Season, oh wait, you mean spring, summer, fall, or winter, don’t you? Ah, well, that would be summer. While I really don’t like the traffic jams, crazy drivers on the highway, or hunting for the coveted parking spot, I love people watching and Rehoboth has plenty of people to watch in the summer. Plus, summer brings a few more bears to town for trapping, I mean watching.
Name a childhood crush or idol…
Ricky Martin would be my crush and still is…but, I’ll go “hero” here. I’m a big hockey fan, so you’d think my hero would be a hockey player, but no. My heroes are those who run into burning buildings as others run out, those who protect us from thieves and thugs and those who fight for our country. They are true heroes, no masks, no capes and no super powers. They are simply equipped with a heart to serve.
Most inspiring moment?
I have a friend who has a nasty form of Muscular Dystrophy and is confined to a wheelchair. He has no idea that he has any kind of disability, well, he does, but he doesn’t let it get in the way. He just does things a little differently. Seeing him do all that he is able to do makes me wonder why I complain about the little stuff so much. Michael inspires me... he’s getting married this year to a very lucky lady.
You’re a fly on the wall of any room, who’s in that room and what are/were they talking about?
Wow, there are so many, when I think of how far we’ve come as the LGBTQ Community in the past few years, but I’d definitely like to be a fly on the wall when the researcher realizes they have a cure for HIV.
Name three of your “bucket list” items…
Well, to tell the truth, I have two-lists. One begins with a “B” and the other begins with an “F”. Give it a second, you’ll get it. My B-list is fairly simple, a train ride to Montreal, a day of deep sea fishing (shark or tuna) and another Stanley Cup for my Philadelphia Flyers. My, F-List is just as simple, sky diving, Sushi, and laundry.
Best year of your life and why?
1995. I met the love of my life and I came out. I LOVE YOU Glen!
Favorite holiday and why?
Christmas. Yes, and not the commercial-thing, the Christian-thing. I’m very deeply rooted in my faith. Yes, I like the fun, commercial part…the tree and decorations, seeing the kids visiting Santa, but late on Christmas Eve there’s a quiet time…a silent night…when I find myself reflecting on what’s in my heart and why it’s there. I wish others could experience it.
You can name the 11th commandment, what would it be?
Thou shall create equality for all, ‘nough said.
Name the biggest change you’ve seen in Rehoboth and how long have you been coming here?
I’ve been coming to Rehoboth all of my life, that’s two weeks short of 55-years at the time of publication. I don’t remember a summer when I wasn’t here at least a week. I remember the town shutting down on Labor Day and re-opening on Memorial Day. You can’t say that now. Rehoboth, while still a resort, is truly a year-round community.
Name three events that have shaped your life to where it is today...
Rosa Parks on the bus; she taught us how to stand-up, by sitting down, for what is right. That would be my number one. My father died when I was 10; that taught me forgiveness. It took a long time, but I learned to forgive. Finally, being bullied; I just wanted it all to end, but I survived. “It gets better.” It really does. I also reconciled with the worst of the bullies last year.
Your best vacation ever was...
Disney (Orlando) with Glen and three menopausal women. We had a Chevy SUV with 3-zone climate control. I thought it was going to rain in the car. We were cold, hot, and comfortable—all at the same time and none at the same time. We also visited every, that is every, I mean EVERY ladies room in the park, too…and I wouldn’t trade that trip for anything. And, you ladies know who you are—I could have shared your names— LOL—love ya.
What are you most thankful for?
Glen Pruitt, my health (after a cancer scare in ’13), my faith, and seeing equality slowly come into being. One day, we will be able to marry in every state, and even in our church.
Kenny, both you and Glen (a long-time member of the CAMP Rehoboth Board of Directors, and our very efficient Secretary) have given so much of yourselves to this wonderful organization. We’re very fortunate for that and we extend our sincere thanks.
Know someone whose efforts should be considered for the CAMP Rehoboth Volunteer Spotlight? Email your suggestion.