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A country girl at heart, she moved to Shelby County from Indiana to run the Multi-Purpose Communication Action Agency, and that left her a bit homesick. But Shelby Countians are easing that pain.
By Lisa King/Sentinel-News staff writer
Kim Embrey has fond childhood memories of chasing pigs around her family's farm and going horseback riding.
In September, she moved away from her hometown of Tell City, Ind., to take a job in Shelbyville.
As new director of the Multi-Purpose Community Action Agency, she has moved in many circles and met a good many people here, people that she says helps to stem the homesickness she feels for her hometown and her family.
"The people here are like the people I grew up with," she said, pushing back a lock of honey-colored hair.
"Everybody has been so nice, I just feel really at home here."
Embrey, daughter of Marilyn Web and the late Elbert Ewing, said she decided to take the job in Shelbyville after going through a divorce, because she felt she needed a fresh start.
"I'd always wanted to live in the Louisville area, and so I thought it would be good for me," she said.
She is currently trying to sell her home in Indiana, and when she does, she will bring her "babies" to her new home.
"I have three dogs and three cats," she said, laughing. "Yes, I know some people would say they are a bit much, but not to me. I am a avid animal lover, I guess you could say I'm the Pied Piper of lost animals."
Embrey said that her love of animals no doubt stems from growing up on a farm, and she wouldn't have it any other way.
"I always liked living in the country. At the time, I didn't like all the chores I had to do, like spending every Saturday in the hog house," she said with a chuckle. "But it taught me a lot about responsibility, learning to do my part."
Embrey grew serious as she reflected upon that quality of her personality.
"I guess that's why I'm attracted to jobs with non-profit organizations. I like to help people. I know that sounds cliché, but I really do. It makes me feel good to do things that benefit other people. If I don't, I don't feel very good about myself."
And she said that's one of the things she likes best about heading up Multi-Purpose. "Some people believe that we are a government agency, but we're not; we're a non-profit charitable organization," she aid.
Some of Multi-Purpose's programs are supported by state and federal grants, and the organization provides services to senior citizens and low-income individuals.
"Our goal is to keep seniors active and involved in their community, which leads to a better quality of life," she said.
She added that Multi-Purpose provides food pantry boxes for seniors to help ensure good nutrition as well as home delivered meals for those who cannot get to the senior center for a meal.
In addition to being enthusiastic about the positive aspects of her life, such as her job, she is just as passionate about her pet peeves.
"I hate it when people can't be on time," she said. "I have a really tight schedule, and if someone is late, it can really mess everything up. I also don't like it when people don't follow through on things, because if I say I'm going to do something, then you can count on that."
Embrey, who started her career as a payroll clerk at an Indiana prison -- where she worked for 15 years -- pondered the question, how would you describe yourself?
"Well, I'm a very organized person, very logical," she said. "All the pieces have to have fall where they're supposed to fall."
Even her "soft spot" is tough.
"You know what my soft spot is just by talking to me -- my friends," she said with a smile.
"They know if they need me, I'll be there."
Even though she's dependable, responsible, and totally rock-solid, as well as impeccably attired, she also has a fun side to her personality. And one has only to notice that mischievous glint in her eyes to know she also knows how to let her hair down.
"I like Nickelback; I like hard rock in general," she said. "And I like “Grey's Anatomy” and CNN."
She turns wistful when she talks about "her heroes."
"I spent many weekends with my grandparents [the late Roy and Eva Embrey], and they really helped to build my self-esteem," she said. "They didn't get to see me graduate from college, but I know they were there, just the same."
Embrey, who graduated from Indiana University Southwest in 1997, said going back to college at age 27 was the best thing she ever did, and it was all because of the advice of a friend.
"We were talking about going back to school, and I said, 'Gosh, I'll be really old when I graduate!'" she said, laughing. "But what he said next really made a lot of sense. He said, 'Well, you're going to age anyway. Why not have something to show for it?'"
Graduating from college was a long haul, going part-time and at night, but she says it's her proudest accomplishment.
"That I was able to do it by myself, paying for it myself, all the while working and taking care of myself--well, I am proud of that," she said.
The experiences she says she would like to do someday sort of mesh with her personality, mostly conservative with a pinch of the unexpected thrown in.
"I'd like to live somewhere tropical for a little while, just kind of chill out on the beach," she said, subconsciously wiggling her toes almost as she could feel the sand in them. "But going white-water rafting would also be fun."
And perhaps take her mind off her beloved home in Indiana.