OPINION JUL 18, 2011 ORANGEVILLE BANNER
Ken Carter strolls through the barns at Mohawk Raceway each morning during the week, making himself available to talk with anyone who feels the need.
He gets the news and finds out what’s going on in the lives of the people who work at the track. If someone is sick or in the hospital, he will visit them. If someone needs to go to an appointment and needs transportation, he will take them.
Rev. Ken Carter is a standard-bred racetrack chaplain. (A standard-bred horse is one that races while pulling a cart or a buggy.)
He does weddings, funerals and baby dedications for those who work at the track. These include drivers, trainers, caretakers, feed-men, blacksmiths, vets and closing outliners.
He makes calls for them. He has an office with a high-speed computer, a food bank, an exercise room and a clothing outlet, all at the track.
The resident of Grand Valley grew up in Brampton. His father, Chap Carter was a show horse trainer for the Armstrong Brothers. At age 15, Ken began to look after horses at the racetrack. In his early 20s, he began to drive the three or four horses that were owned by his family in races.
He raced at a number of tracks around Southern Ontario, including, Dresden and Hanover. He once drove in a stakes race in Lexington, Kentucky called the Red Mile.
In 1967, he began to apprentice to be a blacksmith. In 1969, he took over a blacksmith shop at Mohawk Raceway and stayed there for 30 years. In 1982, he came to the Lord.
He went to the Canadian Pentecostal Correspondence College, starting in 1987. In 1992, he became the associate pastor in Erin. In 1995, he became the senior pastor at Riverside Assembly Church in Waldemar. He was ordained in 1997.
He left Waldemar in 2005 to become a racetrack chaplain. In 2008, he returned as halftime pastor in Waldemar. He still does his racetrack chaplaincy.
During the winter, his group puts on a hot meal every Wednesday for the workers at the track. In the spring and summer, they have a barbecue each Wednesday.
On Christmas Day, a meal for those who live at the track is provided.
The surrounding churches provide a gift bag for each worker. A Christmas party, complete with Santa and presents is held each year.
Rev. Carter married a couple at Georgian Downs in Barrie. The reception was held in the dining hall there. Carter did a funeral for one of the grooms at Mohawk. His sister came from California and was able to spread his ashes on the infield.
Rev. Carter told me he believed a back injury he had was healed through prayer. He said the doctor was going to operate and an X-ray was taken just prior to the beginning of the surgery. What showed up as an injury previously was gone.
Sounds like an interesting experience.