LaGRANGE — Ask anyone at Jackson Heating and Air who the hardest working person in their office is, and they will quickly point to their newest employee, Tyler McCoy.
The recent Troup County High School graduate is a fast learner, passionate about his job, very loyal and has a personality and smile that could light up the darkest of rooms. The 22 year old also has Downs Syndrome – but he doesn’t stop him from giving 110 percent in everything that he does.
“I take out the trash and clean everyday,” McCoy explained. ”I help Miss Susie (another employee) check in the equipment every day … I talk with customers. I deliver them ‘thank you’ baskets and they say ‘thank you’ and I shake their hand.”
According to Dale Jackson, vice president of Jackson Heating and Air, McCoy also helps divide up invoices, sweeps and cleans up the warehouse, plus moves equipment through out the facility. All tasks that were assigned to him, that he picked up very quickly. The 22 year old mainly works with sales coordinator Susie Ryner.
“When he gets through with something, he’s ready for something else. So I have to find something quickly,” she said. It’s fun. He amazes me every time with the different questions he asks. He sees things in a different world. You never know what he’s going to ask. It’s different – but an enjoyable different – he never ceases it amaze me.”
“I like to help Miss Susie … I work on paper and folders with her … staple the papers and put them in certain folders for her. That’s what I do for her. I love her. I do,” McCoy said with a big smile on his face.
Instead of employees at Jackson Heating and Air focusing on the young man’s learning differences, Jackson said they concentrate on his abilities – and there are a lot of them.
“We have found plenty that he is capable of doing. I’m happy that he is here,” said Jackson. “There have been some difficult times. There have been some situations that have come up, but that’s why I wanted Tyler here. If it were all sunshine and rainbows it would be pointless.”
McCoy just started working at the company three weeks ago, and has already made a positive, lasting impression on business clients and new co-workers.
“Anything I tell him to do, he does, no questions asked. He works hard,” said Ryner. “He likes to learn. He doesn’t like it when we’re outside a lot because it’s hot, but he never complains … he’s eager to learn. Always entertaining. He makes the day go by faster when he’s here and he’s happy … always happy.”
“He’s just a joy,” said Jackson. “Every time I’m in the office, someone comes up and tell me about a conversation they had with Tyler. They love talking with him … I think it helps having Tyler here, enforcing that its not always about doing things the fastest way that’s important in life.”
Jackson hopes other local businesses will be open to the idea of hiring people with learning differences within their companies as well.
“People tend to not want to get involved with special needs because of the unknown, but there’s nothing to be afraid of,” said Jackson. “I ask the business community to not be afraid. I’ve had numerous people tell me that as a company, this very well could be the best thing we’ve ever done.”
McCoy works a few hours a day, five days a week and is the company’s biggest cheerleader. He has also quickly become one of the most popular employees among his coworkers and their clientele.
While the 22-year has only been with Jackson Heating and Air for a short time, he told the Daily News he already has big plans for his future with the company.
“I have my manager, it’s Mr. Dale. Everything is all right here,” he said. “This is my career and I want to stay here forever.”
Melanie Ruberti is a reporter with LaGrange Daily News. She can be reached at 706-884-7311 ext. 2156.