Gulfport Man Headed To Iraq As Contractor Despite Dangers - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

10/07/04

Gulfport Man Headed To Iraq As Contractor Despite Dangers

A Gulfport man says he's not letting terrorism in the Middle East stop him from pursuing a golden opportunity. Phil King is slated to leave for Iraq later this month. The 56-year-old will spend a year overseeing the set up of emergency call centers throughout the country.

King has been doing a lot more of cooking and cleaning lately. Back in June.. he quit his job as an engineer for the New Orleans 9-1-1 system, and went looking for a new adventure.

"I like a challenge, " said King. "I like big projects. I hate boring jobs."

An on-line search landed King a job that's anything but boring. A company has contracted him to set up emergency call centers in Iraq. He'll be away from his wife and children for months at a time but King says leaving now will help his family in the future.

He says the job offers "a tremendous salary and is a benefit for my family. When I come back, I'm going to totally retire," he said.

With reports nearly everyday about American contractors being kidnapped and sometimes killed, King isn't blind to the dangers.

He said "It's the possibility that I could get killed. There is no doubt about that, but when the man upstairs says it's your time to go, it doesn't make any difference where you are, you're gone."

Part of King's reason for going to Iraq is to see for himself how Iraqis feels about Americans.

"A lot of people that I know that have been over there have already signed contracts to go back again. I talked to a truck driver that's over there. He's going back for his third hitch. He says what you see on the news is not true."

While Phil King is in Iraq he says he will have round the clock armed guards keeping him safe. He's been told never to go anywhere alone or go out at night.

by Danielle Thomas

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