Austin Deitrick gives a warm welcome to everyone visiting the Black Hawk County YMCA. He started at the front desk this past winter.
"He has just excelled in his position," said YMCA Membership Director Alyson Goetzl. "Anyone that comes into this facility just loves him. If he's not working for a day, 'Where's Austin?'"
Deitrick applied at the Y after volunteering during the summer.
It took him a while to land the job, but he never gave up.
"I kept checking on it. They said my persistence got me the job," said Deitrick.
Persistence has also paid off in Deitrick's rehabilitation after a car accident.
"I was on a gravel road, the car rolled, and I fell out," said Deitrick.
The accident happened July 22, 2008, on Osage Road in Waterloo.
Deitrick was wearing his seatbelt, but that didn't keep him in the car.
"The seat belt was on the door, but the door fell off or was ripped off so I got sucked out," he said.
He suffered a traumatic brain injury and the prognosis wasn't good.
"I would be dead or, if I lived, I would be a vegetable," said Deitrick.
The 19-year-old continues to recover, but he doesn't let his injury keep him from doing his job.
"This is the highlight of my day," he said.
"He loves it, and we're glad to have him," said Goetzl.
Goetzl said Deitrick has a great personality, is very complimentary to members and is an all-around great employee.
Deitrick goes to physical therapy three days a week, and he continues to make improvements with his mobility.
He's currently a student at Waterloo West High. In two years, he plans to go on to college to become a personal trainer.
Deitrick hopes his story inspires others to be persistent.
"Don't give up. That's it," he said.
KWWL Television Inc.
511 E 5th St. Waterloo , IA 50703
News Tips: (800)947-7746