Volunteer chooses to serve, encourage

Cabarrus native Randy Hardy has been a volunteer with the Boys and Girls Club of Cabarrus for seven years.

Hardy, 58, has cerebral palsy and devotes his time and energy to helping others.

In 1953, Hardy's parents moved him and his twin sisters to Concord, where his father worked in a pharmacy store. Hardy attended Coltrane Webb Elementary school because it was the only school in Cabarrus at the time that had special education classes, which he needed.

After he graduated from Rowan Tech in 1972, Hardy worked for a couple of mills, including a cotton mill in Mt. Pleasant. He also worked at a Goodwill budget office in Kannapolis.

However, his condition limited his work options, so Hardy turned to volunteer work.

"I am not physically able to hold down a lot of jobs because of my disability. Instead of staying home and not having a lot to do, I can get out and help whomever I can," he said.

"I feel volunteering is just as important as being able to work with the workforce. I might meet somebody who has had a bad day who I can cheer up," said Hardy.

In 1999, Hardy won a "Nine Who Care Award" for his work with the American Cancer Society, where he worked with for 10 years.

"Talk about someone who was surprised," Hardy said about the award. He also volunteered with the Cooperative Christian Ministry for 20 years.

Hardy's work with the Boys and Girls Club on Spring Street Northwest in Concord includes a great deal of administrative support.

"I do whatever needs to be done. The club is a fantastic place. They do a great job with children and young adults.

"I am so proud to be there with them. I can't believe I have already been there for seven years," he said.

In addition to volunteering with the Boys and Girls Club, Hardy works with Forest Hill Methodist Church, where he has worked with 17 years. Randy also works with the Life Center Adult Daycare facility.

"All of these people I've worked with for the last 20 to 25 years have really opened their hearts to me. They have all been real nice. I've really enjoyed working with for the Boys and Girls Club, Forest Hill Methodist Church and the Life Center.

"They keep me busy," he said.

Even though these organizations have Hardy and several other volunteers to help, Hardy says they could all still use volunteers.

"Any of these places would love to have volunteers come and help. It is a lot fun," he said.

"I thank my lucky stars I can do all I can. I have really enjoyed it and I think they have enjoyed having me around too," said Hardy.

When Hardy is not volunteering, he is enjoying his time with his friends at Carolina Mall.

"On Saturday, my friends come up to the mall and we all sit, talk and drink coffee."

Hardy is a self-described people person.

"I love to talk and work with people," he said.