Compassionate, Capable, and Committed to Kosair Charities
I met Randy Coe for the first time during a school holiday. My sixth-grade daughter was with me, and Coe’s attention was immediately focused on Mackenzie. His warmth, kindness, good humor, and curiosity opened the door to the history and mission of Kosair Charities, while touching her curiosity and her heart. Throughout our two-hour interview, Mackenzie felt included and respected. Those are hallmarks of Randy Coe’s leadership. Each person he meets feels his genuine interest and encouragement. A lifelong learner, Coe embraces the light of intellect and the activation of an inquiring mind, seeking out answers and finding wisdom.
Kosair Charities Celebrates 90 Years
Coe gave us an overview of Kosair Charities’ 90-year history by showing us the timeline of photos arranged on the walls of Kosair’s Eastern Parkway home, each photo revealing medical treatment and advancements. When we arrived at the Iron Lung, we paused. At first we did not speak. Randy broke our silence by sharing the story of a thank you letter he received from one of the last patients, now an adult, whose life was lived for a time, inside that chamber. From that season lived inside a small metal chamber came a full, rich life. It is one example of countless lives that have been saved and improved through Kosair Charities’ generous work.
Though medical treatment and technology have changed over the decades, the mission and determination of Kosair Charities has remained constant and resolute: to prevent the ravages of disabling diseases from harming the children of Kentucky. They began in 1926 with a small residential treatment facility where children with diseases like typhoid fever, polio, diphtheria, and smallpox received long-term care. Today, they provide approximately $17 million annually to support organizations like Kosair Children’s Hospital, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Home of the Innocents. Under Randy Coe’s purposeful, tender care, Kosair Charities became the largest charitable organization benefitting children in this region.
“Our organization is captive to a spirit and set of values that began 90 years ago when a gap in services for children with long term medical needs and treatment was identified,” Coe explained. “Not being part of Norton Healthcare, we can broadly invest in children’s health in this community, and region. We support children, children who fall through the cracks, through 90 agencies.” Coe has s
erved on the Kosair Charities Board since 1996 and is also President of their staff. He and his wife of forty years, Christe, began their volunteer service in 1970 with the highly successful “Kosair Safari,” benefitting Kosair Crippled Children Hospital and the “Kosair Kids” patients.
Coe’s Compassionate and Curious Life
Coe was born into a family focused on generosity. His father was a prominent cardiologist, “a doctor’s doctor,” a role model as both a scholar and a gentleman. His loving mother enthralled everyone with her beautiful singing voice, while serving faithfully in the Women’s Auxiliary at Baptist Hospital. Coe’s family modeled a life of serving others, “give, give often and give freely,” but he describes himself as fiscally conservative, “especially with other people’s money.” Coe abides conservative wisdom, like “If you can’t explain it to your mother, don’t do it” and “It is not what you profess, it is what you practice.”
Coe’s generosity is not limited to money. He lives his life challenging himself to “do something good for someone every day. I don’t waste a moment of this limited gift of life.” He will serve as president of the Rotary Club of Louisville in 2013. He is a Past Potentate (or CEO) of the 2,500-member fraternal organization, Kosair Shriners. He gives time, talent, and treasure to many causes but particularly helps the “Kosair Kids” of Kosair Charities. Along with an enormous work ethic, Randy’s curiosity has led him to be part of many organizations as diverse as the International Brotherhood of Magicians, Louisville Magic Club, The Sons of the Desert, International Laurel and Hardy Society, Royal Order of Scotland, The Society of Colonial Wars in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Knights Templar, and the Scottish Rite. Nothing better defines his value system than his extraordinary skill of time management and his far reaching interests.
This year, Kosair Charities will celebrate 90 years of compassionate, capable, committed service to children in our region. Randy Coe smiles kindly at me and says, “After 90 years, we renew our commitment to the children of this region. We follow the kids, wherever they go. Whatever they need, that’s where we are.”