Bealeton resident Will King’s life has been dedicated to serving
Following an adventurous career in law enforcement and the U.S. Navy, Will King and his wife decided Bealeton was an ideal place to relocate and retire. Reminiscent of the farming community of his childhood in his hometown of Lansing, Michigan, King felt at home with the quiet and convenience Bealeton offered. A true lover of the outdoors, as a child King enjoyed raising rabbits with 4-H, participated in scouts and spent his weekends hunting and camping. “It was a great time, I went on a lot of hunting trips with my grandfather who passed in 1993,” he recalls. Fishing was a family activity for the Kings. “My mother enjoyed sitting on the pier while my father, brother, and I caught fish for dinner,” he says. “While I don’t do those activities today, I do look upon them with fond memories,” he continues.
His relocation story to Bealeton is entwined with many experiences with law enforcement and military service. As a student at Lansing Community College, King studied law enforcement while simultaneously working as an auxiliary officer for his hometown police department where he earned only $127 every two weeks. He found himself selling his blood plasma to make ends meet. Recognizing his struggles were not allowing him to advance his career, King decided to join the Navy. His family members’ response was “What took you so long?”
“I come from a long line of Navy Veterans that includes my father, two uncles, my cousin, and my brother,” he says. King’s great-uncle survived the Baatan Death March in 1942 as a prisoner of war. During his captivity, he broke his back when he slipped into a ravine while hauling a railroad tie. Punishment of a missing POW was the execution of the 10 prisoners in front and the 10 prisoners behind the missing prisoner in line. After surviving the night, King’s great-uncle managed his way out of the ravine, sparing the lives of 20 other prisoners. He was finally rescued and spent the remainder of his life dealing with the physical pain of this ordeal.
King inherited this determination, dedication, and compassion for others from these family members. Throughout his career, he always accepted new challenges. In the Navy, King was a Signalman and Quartermaster, both positions dealing with the ship’s navigation. He spent 10 years in the Navy and spent one rotation of shore duty at Port Operations, Little Creek Va., where he was stationed during 9/11.
In 2003, King left the Navy to join the U.S. Capitol Police, where he was introduced to politics. One of his duties was guarding the velvet rope behind which lobbyists stood to make one final influencing pitch to legislators. “I couldn’t believe how easy a senator could be influenced, this experience has remained on the forefront of my mind over the years,” he confesses.
With the Capitol Police, King became a Federal Law Enforcement Instructor and attended a special diversity program. Following completion of the course, King revised the diversity program and became the lead instructor for Diversity/Cultural Awareness. Once again motivated by the challenge, King laterally transferred to the Capitol Police to the HAZMAT team where he dealt with threats from weapons of mass destruction from February 2004 to September 2007.
After four years on the HAZMAT team he began a career as a federal air marshal. King says, “This was a physically and psychologically challenging job. Flights to the Middle East would leave in the evening; after doing other things all day, I had to be vigilant for a 14-hour flight and, if necessary, be ready to react at a moment’s notice.” Following eight years as an air marshal, King transferred to a position within the organization as a Southeastern Joint Terrorism Task Force Coordinator where he studied analytics for terrorist movements. “This was an exciting and challenging job. I enjoyed the work,” he recalls. A natural leader and motivator, King then accepted the position of acting supervisor and assisted several of his team members in advancing their careers within the Air Marshal Service.
Now retired, King has immersed himself in the quiet of Bealeton. During this time, he has reflected on his career, experiences, and the strengths he has honed. This period of mandated rest has also given King and his wife the opportunity to explore the county. “This year I’ve discovered some places that my wife and I enjoy dining. We are fortunate to have excellent food destinations in our community. In Fauquier, I enjoy the new Indian restaurant, Molly’s, Wort Hog Brewing Company, Powers Farm and Brewery, Deja Brew (a veteran-owned business), Hidden Jules, El Agave, and China Jade. Other favorite businesses we frequent are stores on Main Street in Warrenton, Messick’s Farm Market, CK Home and Hardware in Bealeton, and businesses on Main Street in Marshall, to name a few. I’ve been fortunate to meet good people all over the county. I’m always glad to support veteran-owned businesses and hope we can attract more to our area,” he shares.
His self-reflection led to King’s decision to improve the quality of life for all residents in Fauquier County by becoming part of the political scene by running for the Virginia House of Delegates District 18. He has spent the last several months in the community meeting people and sharing his perspective on key issues. For King, his affinity for helping others and his energy in tackling new challenges has begun a new chapter in his life.