Ken Kling - Ithaca Health Alliance and Free Clinic in Ithaca, NY

Physical disability hasn’t kept Ken Kling from making a difference in our community. After a 25-year career, disability rendered Ken physically unable to work and battling depression. Then he discovered that helping others was one of the best ways to take care of himself. In Elmira, NY, he volunteered at an addiction recovery home and with programs for senior citizens. After he moved to Ithaca, the Health Alliance was his first choice of where to volunteer. In his application, Ken described himself as “the ultimate paper pusher,” and he’s lived up to that claim. More so, he has helped out in every part of IHA’s operations. Among his other contributions, he does laundry weekly, handles phone calls, conducts follow-ups for Free Clinic patients, supervises fundraising mailings, staffs shifts after last-minute cancellations, represents us at community events, and even covered for our administrative coordinator when he went on vacation. Ken does it all with good humor and keeps everyone laughing. Asked why he chose the IHA, Ken says it’s “because we’re doing something about a problem that nobody else is.” He says that he’s been given an opportunity not only to help patients, but to work with many great people who he admires for their dedication to the wellbeing of all. “I appreciate that the Alliance gives me a chance to use the skills I developed in my working life, and to feel like a normal person.” The appreciation is mutual, and Ken’s work invaluable.

Ken Kling