Saturday, May 18 2013 9:12 AM EDT2013-05-18 13:12:03 GMT
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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -
Our making a difference report today is about two people who go beyond the extra mile at the Regional Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. Their names are Carolyn Mallard and Tim Emmons.
One is retiring after more than 30 years on the job; the other is blind but 'sees' with his heart.
"If there was anyone who followed the 'Golden Rule,' and then some, it is Ms. Mallard and Tim Emmons. "I treat all of my patrons as family," she explained. In other words, the person calling isn't just a number. "I just like helping people."
Emmons, who's been blind since birth, is the 'reader advisor' for the Regional Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. It's Tim's job to make sure his callers get what they need; books on tapes.
Emmons and Mallard say the library serves around 10,000 clients throughout the state.
But listen carefully and you'll hear Emmons uses warmth, humor and a healthy dose of good cheer to make his patients feel welcomed and accepted.
Tim recalls a story in which a blind man was immobilized after a fall but desperately needed his audio books. Emmons made it happen. That's when Emmons realized he'd made a difference in a profound way. "He called me back in tears," Emmons recalled. "A light bulb went off..."
A patient here says talking to Mallard is like getting a big hug through the phone, and there's a reason why. "I try to be cheerful when I answer the phone in order for them to feel better about themselves, because sometimes they are lonely and don't have anybody to talk to."
"It's not a sacrifice. It's part of who I am," the man says of himself.
To understand why Emmons is the way he is, you have to meet Jimmy and Debbie Gibson. Mr. Gibson used to work at the library and Tim was one of his patients, a simple courtesy handed down and taken to a higher level.
"That's going the second and third mile," Gibson explained. "I would want them to be nice to me."
Tim and Carolyn say they each get 50 to 100 phone calls per day, making a difference with each one. In less than two weeks, Ms. Mallard says she will hang it up after more than 30 years with the library. She retires with no concern.
The legacy of serving others will continue with Emmons doing what he does best: making his friends feel they're part of the library family.