County joins hands for local hero

By Amanda Lowrance

County joins hands for local hero

Special Photo Support by Jason Kirk

On a routine trip home from work, Larron King, a hometown hero, was involved in a tragic accident on Sulfur Springs Road that has kept him in Memphis at Regional Medical Center, otherwise known as The Med, for more than a week.

The cause of the accident is still unknown but it is certain that King lost control of the vehicle and was involved in a serious crash. Many locals became very concerned, and when paralysis came into the equation, something more had to be done.

Several church members, family and friends of King began to rally a prayer in the park. More than 500 people attended what the locals called “Pack the Park Prayer Night for Larron King”.

Sixteen years ago, Mr. and Mrs. King celebrated the birth of their daughter on Mother’s Day along with their four-year-old son. Six hours after Lauren was born she was taken to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital suffering with Acute Myelongenous Leukemia leaving the family devastated.

Larron has said it went from the best day of their life to the hardest to the most tragic, but now it has become the biggest part of their lives through the Ronald McDonald House. The first six weeks staying at St. Jude with their daughter was very costly due to hotel and food expenses. Lauren lived a year and eight days and in her memory the family began Lauren King Ministry.

RMH and St. Jude teamed up to form a place where families can stay and concentrate on the wellbeing of their child without worrying about cleaning, cooking, or paying bills. There are over 50 bedrooms provided for after an expansion in 2000 and the RMH has housed over 6,000 people completely free of charge.

Through their ministry the Kings have worked and provided time and money for the RMH to not only help make these struggling families whole, but to make their family whole as well. Their time has been dedicated to traveling to Memphis, cooking fresh meals, raising money, and providing love, hope, and faith to every patient and family.

These works can make a difference in your life and Larron has challenged people to do the same, but the challenge is now different for him and his family as they are in need of help from others.

“We have been close friends now for about 16 years,” said Chris Whitten. “Larron’s big commitment has been with the Ronald McDonald House. It’s amazing to see how someone can take such a tragedy in their life and turn it into a positive and be able to minister to not hundreds, but thousands of families over the last 12 years. It is just unreal.” 

The crash crushed King’s L5 vertebrae and he is currently paralyzed from the neck down. He wore a halo and had surgery Saturday afternoon on the front of his neck and was scheduled for another surgery Monday on the back of his neck, but it has been postponed until he is in better condition. As of Monday night, King was put on a ventilator observing a chance of pneumonia.

“It has not been said by the doctors that this surgery will fix Larron,” said Mike Maness, a close friend who helped Whitten organize the prayer event. “This is just what is hopeful of Anita, Wes, and all of his friends.”

The circle at the park, business sign displays, and everyone coming together as one to pray for King has heightened the family’s belief in a full recovery.

“We saw the prayer in the park by FaceTime,” said wife Anita King. “It was so overwhelming. I do not have the words to say to let them know how thankful we are for each and every one of them. Let them know how much we appreciate all they are doing. We are truly blessed.”

The many events going on in a small town did not keep people from supporting a local hero. Nor did a rivalry game keep the teams from joining hands on the baseball field. The impact made by the Kings has been great, and continued support is needed to help the family that has given all to help others.

“Please continue to pray,” said Ms. King. “I look forward to the day when he can come and tell you all what God has brought him through and I am confident that Larron is going to be completely healed.”

A sign at the RMH has a quote by Booker T. Washington and is a good description of Larron: “Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.”

Donations are being accepted at Regions directly through the Larron R. King account and $14 prepaid t-shirts are being sold  through Bella Salon, most county schools and Thyssen Krupp to support the King family.