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Kevin King initially thought he’d be an auto mechanic but when he took a phlebotomy class, he was hooked on a career in patient care.
He’s got the physical strength of a former high school wide receiver, but get Kevin King talking about his 20-year career with IU Health and there’s a tender side that speaks of his love for patient care.
Born in Chicago, King was raised by his aunt and uncle Robert and Thelma Beard on Indy’s eastside. He graduated from Arsenal Tech where he played football, baseball and basketball and ran track and field for the Titans. After high school he enlisted in the Army but was never really sure of his calling in life.
“I was young and thought of myself as a victim but my mind is in a different place now,” said King. He was one of 32 children raised by the Beards. “At one time we had up to 12 kids in the house, three or four to a bed. They did everything to raise us. Food was an adventure. Here’s what I learned from that situation – statistics show that staying out of poverty means graduating from high school and not having kids before marriage.”
After the Army he met his second wife Janna King. They’ve been married for 22 years and together have five adult daughters and three grandchildren.
“I wanted a better life for my children,” said King. He started his medical career as a phlebotomist and met someone on the job who encouraged him to become an EMT. His first job with IU Health was with the Riley Hospital Critical Care Team. After the merge with LifeLine, he got his paramedic license and then began working ALS/BLS – a program that is expanding by leaps and bounds.
“I like the freedom that comes with working in emergency care. You aren’t stationary, you are always moving, and preparing for what’s next,” said King. He’s also learned over the years not to take anything for granted.
“I’m 51-years-old and I can see a 6-year-old boy with a terminal illness and have the family thank me for being there. There are kids who barely make it in this world,” said King. “I don’t let it get to me. I keep perspective and recognize that this job teaches me to be a better person.”
More about King:
-- By T.J. Banes, Associate Senior Journalist at IU Health. Reach Banes via email at T.J. Banes or on Twitter @tjbanes.