This month's Mid-South Hero is a man of faith who extends his love to those with special needs.
"It's not really work to me, it's more like having fun," Bill Cooper said.
That's how Cooper describes his job as president of Friends of Faith in Bartlett. The non-profit is a ministry for adults with special needs.
Cooper got out of the auto parts business in 2006 to run the center full time.
"This is a place where they can come and have something to do five days a week and feel like they're participating with people like themselves," Cooper said.
Participants range from 22 to 60 years old. They participate in multiple activities, including painting and designing decorative yard signs and bird houses to sell.
Pat Painter is a volunteer at the non-profit. He actually nominated Cooper as this month's Mid-South Hero.
"I thought if anybody is a hero it's Billy," Painter said. "He's just so patient with them. No matter what happens, he gets it all worked out for them."
Cooper teaches a Sunday bible study, coaches a year-round sports program, and spends long hours at the ministry to accommodate working parents.
"When I started working with special needs kids, I never knew that I would get as far with them as I have," Cooper said.
The almost 80-year-old says running Friends of Faith has been the best experience of his life.
"It's good to know people notice the things you do."
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