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:
- He’s not the only medical professional in his family. His wife is a nurse; his daughter Rosie Carr and her husband Brian Carr are both surgery residents with IU Health; his sister Rhonda King works at Methodist Hospital; and his brother Chase King works at Riley Hospital.
- What he’s most proud of: The success of his daughters. One daughter has a sociology degree, another is a lawyer and his youngest daughter, who is 21, attends Butler University on a piano scholarship.
- Something that might surprise people to learn about King: He once played the lead role of Danny Zuko in his high school’s musical, “Grease.” He loves attending Broadway musicals. Other hobbies – he and his wife like to take hikes and identify different trees, he plays chess and rides a Honda VTX cruiser motorcycle.
- What he’s known for on the job: His straightforward approach. “I won’t ask anyone to do something I won’t do.”
- He and his wife live on nearly four acres with chickens and a donkey. At one time they also had a horse and a goat.
— By T.J. Banes, Associate Senior Journalist at IU Health.
Reach Banes via email at T.J. Banes or on Twitter @tjbanes.