Samuel King recognized as a ‘Life Changer’

Posted 4/5/19

BELLE GLADE — A person who is a “life changer” would give encouragement to those whom he loves and cares about dearly. A quote from Samuel King would simply be: “Believe in yourself a little …

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Samuel King recognized as a ‘Life Changer’

BELLE GLADE — A person who is a “life changer” would give encouragement to those whom he loves and cares about dearly. A quote from Samuel King would simply be: “Believe in yourself a little more, work harder, do the right things and you will succeed!” For 58 years, Samuel King has exemplified the love, care and hard work that has affected a change in the lives of many people, young and old. Thus, he is called a “Life Changer.”

Samuel was born on Dec. 12, 1958 at Glades General Hospital in Belle Glade, Fla. His mother had four girls and wanted badly for her fifth child to be a boy. His birth fulfilled the dream for his mother by adding the son that she wanted and a brother for his four sisters. Samuel was the “life changer” at that time for his mother and siblings. This, we can say, was the beginning for his title: “A Life Changer.”

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News
Sam King (right) with Life Changer staff.

He attended Rosenwald Elementary School in South Bay and Lake Shore Middle School in Belle Glade. He matriculated to Glade Central High School for grades nine through twelve and graduated with the Class of 1976.

He did not play any sports in elementary or middle school. He liked football but did not want to be a football player. What he did decide to do for football was most enjoyable for him. He stayed after school every day for football practice and became the “water-boy.” Although he lived in South Bay, six miles away from the school and practice field in Belle Glade, he was at every football practice and he attended every game. Samuel took his job as the water-boy very seriously. After graduating from high school his role changed from that of the water-boy to assisting the coaches during practice and sideline coaching during the games. He took great pride in working with the players and especially working with the kickers. Sam never missed a game or an opportunity to be out on the field with the players. You see, Coach King had a connection with the players. He was able to recognize their characters and abilities, and knew how to use each of their strengths to be the best on the football field or off the football field.

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News
Sam King is here with his wife, Vanessa King.

The football players referred to Samuel as Coach King and after 34 years of work as a member of the coaching staff for the Glades Central Raiders, winning five championships, countless playoff games and wearing five championship rings, Coach King decided to bring an end to his coaching career — although he still had a love of the players, the games, the phone calls and the visits from former players. Many of the football players that he coached, went on to play football for a college or university, and many were drafted into the professional football leagues. One of the young men that Coach King worked with as his football coach is presently serving as Mayor for the City of Miramar, Fla., and if re-elected on Tuesday, March 12, he will serve a second term as the Mayor of Miramar. Coach King saw him as a “good, smart young man.” That formal football player is Mayor Wayne Messam.

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News
Sam, in his younger years, was cooking for staff at BGE.

Many of the football players continued, for a while, a career of playing football. Coach King was a “life changer” for many of the Raiders who played the game of football. Listed here is a few of the players who went on to play football for a college, university, or professional Teams:

• Santonio Holmes: Pittsburgh Steelers

• Fred Taylor: Jacksonville Jaguars and Buffalo Bills

• Louis Oliver: Miami Dolphins and Cincinnati Bengals

• Jessie Hester: Oakland Raiders, Atlanta Falcons, Indianapolis Colts

• Riedell Anthony: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Sam King joined the staff of Belle Glade Elementary School as head custodian in 1977 and continued his employment for 42 years. He was indeed a role model and liked by all: school administrators, teacher, students, parents, the cafeteria staff, custodial staff and others. On his last day of work, He was recognized by an assembly of students and teachers as they cheered for Mr. King, the “Life Changer.” Everyone had nice things to say for their beloved head custodian. Cake and punch were shared in the media room before everyone was ushered out so he could secure the room for the last time.


Sam had many jobs that he preformed weekly. In addition to practicing with the Raiders’ football players during week days, and performing his custodial duties at Belle Glade Elementary School, Sam also had responsibility to clean a church. Sam has been cleaning the Community United Methodist Church of Belle Glade for 42 years. He has not retired from this job yet and doesn’t think that he will, at least not for now. Sam says, that by cleaning the church, he is doing the work to keep God’s House clean. And beside, he enjoys cleaning the church.

Sam King was also Parade Marshall for the Martin Luther King (MLK) 2019 celebration.

Sam has a passion for cooking and feeding people. He has been cooking since the age of 12 years old. He cooks every Sunday for his family. He cooks for his friends, the church, for weddings, for funerals, for programs, for family reunions, for anniversaries, for programs when food is served, and many other events. He just simply loves to cook and for that we are grateful.

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News
Sam King (left) is with Brother Lawrence Seymore (right) catering for family reunion picnic.

Sam, of course, could not do all of these things: cleaning, cooking, coaching, without the support of his family and especially his loving wife Vanessa. Sam and Vanessa will celebrate 40 years of marriage on Sept. 29. They are the parents of one son, three daughters, three sons-in-law, and eight grandchildren.

Earlier you read that he had four sisters. Well, after Samuel, our family continued to increase. Sam has seven sisters and one brother. His mother and one older sister are deceased.

Samuel King — Sam, Coach King, Daddy, Husband, Granddaddy, Brother — no matter how he is addressed, he is above all else, “A Life Changer.”

Editor’s note: Mary Ann Thomas is Samuel King’s older sister.