"The effects of a stroke can be very frustrating, particularly for someone young like me," Hardy said. "In addition to the challenges of recovery I really struggled with what was my purpose now in life."
Fortunately, Hardy had a caring family member who believed in the adage "those who are happiest are those who do the most for others." "My aunt suggested that I look for somewhere to volunteer, a place where I could help others and forget about my own challenges," Hardy said.
He called Cathy Harville, the executive director of the new senior living community, Benton House.
"Randall said is there anything I can do to help. I thought what an amazing man," Harville said. "Here he is faced with a circumstance that most of us can't comprehend and yet he is looking to serve others. I wasn't sure exactly what he might do but I knew he was the kind of person our community would embrace."
What began as a few hours a week has blossomed into daily visits. Hardy helps in whatever capacity needed, but seems to most enjoy helping out with the many social events and functions the community has each day.
"The residents really dote on Randall and look forward to his visits," Harville said. "I think they are inspired by his amazing recovery and his sunny attitude. He really is part of our family."
Randall is more modest and philosophical.
"I honestly think I get as much if not more than the residents by volunteering here. I see these residents and they are still busy and happy and productive. It inspires me to remember just how much joy and life there is available to us all.
"I would encourage anyone who is feeling down or looking for purpose to consider volunteering. I really do believe this work has saved my life."
For more information on volunteering at Benton House call (770) 788.6660.