Aidan Knaus is quite the chatterbox.
He doesn’t simply push patients from one place to the next. His intense interest in striking up long conversations has made him the most requested volunteer at a veterans hospital in Minnesota.
What’s especially interesting about Aidan is the time when he was a boy, and his mother was unsure he’d ever talk at all. She’d even begun to teach him sign language.
Diagnosed with ADHD and high-functioning Autism earlier this year, the eighth grade student has had to overcome a number of obstacles but his gift of gab now comes naturally–and he is using it for good.
“He loves meeting new people and having conversations, learning about people’s lives,” his mom, Tanya Hundeby, told KARE News.
As soon as he was old enough to volunteer—the day after his 13th birthday—Aidan began escorting residents at the St. Cloud VA Medical Center to the canteen, to therapy, to the chapel, logging over 160 volunteer hours in just the past two months.
Navy Veteran Jay LaCrosse made friends with Aidan during his 16-day rehab stay for a broken hip.
“He’s very special to me,” Jay said. So special, in fact, that the vet wrote a letter to President Obama seeking recognition for the young volunteer, who specifically walked slower down the halls so the two would have more time to talk.
With school back in session, the 8th grader says he hopes to continue volunteering during school breaks, and definitely plans to return next summer.