2011, when he decided to assist his friend and former Saline County Coroner Will Bearden. Bearden groomed Cleghorn for the chief deputy coroner

job by bringing him on as a part-time deputy coroner. But Cleghorn had no ambition to pursue the deputy coroner posi- tion. It wasn’t until his father, Rodney Cleghorn, passed that he entertained the idea. “My dad told me this could very easily not just be a job op-

portunity, but a career changer for you,” he said. “It could be a huge step in the direction that God wants you to go. Right after he gave me those words of advice, my dad passed away.” Bearden was one of the first people at Cleghorn’s side after his father passed away. “Will taught me that day what the office of the coroner re- ally is because now I was on that side of it,” he said. Cleghorn accepted the chief deputy coroner job a week later. In 2013, Cleghorn ran for Saline County coroner and won

by a landslide in the 2014 election. He took office in 2015. Cleghorn has finally found a passion as coroner. “Working on an ambulance was great, and I was able to help

Saline County coroner joins AAC board

Story and Photo by Holland Doran AAC Communications Coordinator

9. He graduated from Bryant High School in 1988, and then pursued a music degree at Henderson State University. How- ever, a crippling case of pneumonia forced him to take a leave from school in his sophomore year. While working at Timber Ridge Near Restorative Ranch, he witnessed a 16-year-old boy have a seizure. He felt helpless. “I vowed that would never happen to me again,” he said.

S 36

“From then on, I determined I didn’t want to go back to my music major because that’s not where I was headed.” He went instead to Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) school and served as a paramedic in Saline County for more than 22 years. A career as a coroner never crossed Cleghorn’s mind until

aline County Coroner Kevin Cleghorn knew he was going to be a singer at the age of 3, when he sang his first solo in church. Investigating death was not his plan. Hindsight is 20/20, though.

He grew up in Sheridan and moved to Bryant when he was

many, many people over the course of my 30 years,” he said. “But what I do as a coroner goes with them for the rest of their life. Tere’s very little I can do for the deceased, but what I do is for the family. If I can ease that pain just a little bit like Will Bearden did for me, then I will have succeeded.” Cleghorn was elected president of the Arkansas Coroners’ Association in December 2016, succeeding Faulkner County Coroner Patrick Moore, who passed away in September. “I was dumbfounded, very honored and very humbled that the association saw something in me, that they entrusted the ed- ucation program and legislation team under my care,” he said. Cleghorn wears many other hats. He is a nationally licensed

forensic death investigator, a state-licensed paramedic and a national registered paramedic. He is director of the South Central Region of the Infant and Child Death Review Com- mittee and a member of the Arkansas Coroners’ Association’s inaugural Education Development Committee. He’s new to the Association of Arkansas Counties (AAC)

board of directors. In the past, the Coroners’ Association had one representative on the AAC board. But since the Coroners’ Association has become a more active group, the AAC mem- bership amended the AAC bylaws to allow the Coroners’ As- sociation to have two representatives on the board. Cleghorn serves alongside Pulaski County Coroner Gerone Hobbs. “I’m very honored that I’m in this position,” Cleghorn said.

“Tere are some amazing people working behind the scenes for the counties and the state of Arkansas, and now I get to be a part of that elite.”

Cleghorn still sings semi-professionally with his brothers, Raymond and Damon, in the gospel music group the Cleg- horn Brothers. He also enjoys spending as much time as pos- sible with his wife of 11 years, Kelly, and their sons — 22-year- old twins, Kyle and Cole, and 10-year-old Gabriel.


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