An octogenarian is being recognized for his decades of service to disabled young people at the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind, HLNTV reports.
Affectionately known in his hometown of Talladega, Ala., as the 'Ice Cream Man' for the frozen treats he delivers to the institute's youngsters, Weaver has been volunteering with deaf and blind children for more than half a century.
According to the NASCAR Foundation, who awarded Weaver the inaugural Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award last December, the octogenarian has already made an estimated 12,000 campus visits to the institute over his lifetime and continues to contribute more than 30 hours a week to his many charitable endeavors.
"Robert Weaver is an icon in the city of Talladega. He grew up here. He has continued to give back to this community for all of his 83 years," Lynne Hanner, the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind's director of institutional advancement, said in an interview with NASCAR Foundation.
From teaching deaf and blind students how to ride tricycles to helping to raise more than $200,000 for the construction of the institute's center for prayer and spiritual counseling, Weaver has been an indispensable supporter of Talladega's deaf and blind community.
"Robert has committed more than half of his life to these deaf and blind students. That's astounding," said Hanner.
But of his many contributions, perhaps the most enduring has been his role as the 'Ice Cream Man', a title he proudly wears emblazoned on a white chef's hat.
"The Ice Cream Man began coming here probably 30 years ago. He started bringing that ice cream scoop and bringing smiles. Today, he still does that," Hanner said.
In March, Weaver was honored by several city and state officials for his years of service in a dedication of a Talladega street -- Robert Weaver Way -- renamed in his honor, the Daily Home reports.
"We’re having some tough times in this country today, but one of the reasons I’m convinced we’re going to come out of this darkness is people like Robert Weaver," said U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers at the ceremony.
"I have often said that I don't hit home runs. I just do little things. It is the little things that matter so much in people's lives," said Weaver when he won the Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award last year. "As I look back over my own life, working with the children of Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind has been part of my calling -- it is why I was put on this earth."
Despite the accolades for his selfless dedication to generations of children, Weaver says he's the one who has benefited the most.
"People think I'm a volunteer, but actually I'm the highest paid person here. I get my pay by direct deposit -- direct to my heart," he told HLN TV.
Watch the HLN TV video about Robert Weaver here:
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