Lifesaver's passion gives community a lift
Job: EMS director
Family: Husband, Tom; son, Zachory, 24; daughter, Amanda, 20; dog, Pugsley
Favorite reading: Murder mysteries
Favorite movies: "If it's a James Bond, I'm watching."
Favorite music: Without a flinch, she said "oldies."
Favorite food: Chinese
Favorite hobbies: Softball—she played three nights a week last year; spending time with family, and "I really love to read." She's also in a bowling league in winter. In summer, you'll catch her swimming. "I love the water."
She also enjoys watching school sporting events and going to other school events such as musicals because she knows a lot of students.
Role models: "My family, not just my mom and dad, but my siblings, too."
EVANSVILLE When someone would fall and get hurt in Mary Beaver's neighborhood, the neighbors knew where to turn.
"They always came and got me," Beaver said laughing.
Always eager to lend a hand, Beaver is not sure how she got into the medical/public safety field, though it seems to run in the family. Four siblings and her son have worked in such jobs.
Beaver took over the job of Evansville's EMS coordinator from her late brother Art Phillips in 1998, becoming full time when the city expanded the position in 2004.
She manages the day-to-day operations of the EMS service, which responds on average to one call a day, but she's quick to point out the service of her seven-member department.
"I don't think our community realizes the dedication these people put in," she said.
Outside of her day job, Beaver fills other roles in the community. She is a high school coach and is a member of the Rock County Board and various committees.
Other volunteer work shows up through her membership in the VFW Auxiliary and Eastern Star organizations, as well as many public safety advocacy groups in Rock County.
"I like helping people. … If someone needs something, I'm going to do my best to help them out if I can or find a resource that will help them," she said, twirling her glasses in her hands.
Barb Pierce, a former EMS coordinator who encouraged Beaver to join her department, called Beaver a "good, loyal Evansvillian."
"She's just willing to help people out, period. No matter what, just willing to help them out," she said.
Beaver has recently found enjoyment in representing District 1 on the Rock County Board after being inspired by her late brother, who previously held the position.
Phillips died unexpectedly in September.
"I never thought I'd be a political person," she said.
Starting in 1994, Beaver worked for about a decade in the high school kitchen and also started coaching. Soon, she was a triple-sport coach, mentoring girls on the volleyball, basketball and softball teams.
"She brings a wealth of knowledge and communication skills to our kids and has taught them a lot more than just the sport," said Brian Cashore, Evansville High School athletic director/associate principal.
Seeing a need for girls summer softball, Beaver and AWARE Agency manager Julie Hermanson started A League of Their Own years ago.
Today, she's down to coaching just volleyball.
"I love teaching the girls how to play—just to love the sport, how much fun you can have playing but still be competitive," she said. "They learn a lot of life lessons by doing an organized sport."
Beaver's sense of humor puts the girls at ease and strikes a balance between work and fun, Cashore said.
"Over the years, she's given a lot to our kids in those areas in athletics," he said.