Help is all around us and in all sorts of people. You can find a helpful heart in Stephanie McKinley, this week’s Life in the Spotlight.
Born in Calumet City, IL, McKinley attended Marian Catholic High School in Chicago Heights. She knew from an early age that she wanted to help people.
“We had a 4th grade fire prevention talk in my school,” McKinley said. “They really enjoyed their job and it was something new every day and so it stuck with me.”
McKinley held on to this idea and attended Purdue University Calumet and got her degree in Paramedicine. While in school, McKinley worked part-time at the Dolton Fire Department and attended fire academy. She then took paramedical training through Franciscan St. Anthony Health Crown Point.
“I was doing 20 things at once,” she said with a laugh.
For the last five years, McKinley has worked at Porter Regional Hospital as a paramedic in the ER. She helps out the nurses and doctors by getting patients prepped for the ER, working all 30 rooms at the hospital plus triage.
“It’s just what I do. If I can make someone’s day a little easier I’m happy to help,” McKinley said. “It’s a good experience working at Porter.”
Outside of work, McKinley is very involved in Hoosier Burn Camp, a nonprofit organization in Battle Ground, IN that provides life-changing experiences to children and young adults who have suffered from severe burn injuries.
“My dad went there on visitor’s day a few years ago. He couldn’t stop talking about it so I became interested and went there the next year,” McKinley said. “The year after that I was lucky enough to become a camp counselor.”
McKinley is in charge of a girls’ cabin there and said that friendships form at the camp. There are all sorts of things for the kids to do like swimming, horseback riding, games, and more.
“It’s really awesome. The kids are amazing,” McKinley said. “Some of the bravest people you’ll ever meet; Positive and energetic. They have had hard lives in the real world with people’s rude comments or stares, and the camp is a place where they can be themselves.”
In her personal time, McKinley does her best to relax. Her idea of relaxing includes: rollerblading, running races, ballroom dancing, spending time with family, friends, her boyfriend Dan, and her pets or as she dubbed them, “fur-babies”.