At Guardian, we place an emphasis on operating under the collective goal of taking care of people and making a positive impact in the communities we serve. This goal has a ripple effect, connecting with everything we do and beginning with our team members. In August of 2017, Troy Branch Manager Amanda Jenkins was approached by longtime Guardian member and Charles Henderson Middle School Principal, Aaron Brown. Brown serves as a mentor to countless youth whom he has met throughout the years as principal, and his mentorship continues far beyond middle school.
One of these students was Alex Bland. Bland was no stranger to difficult circumstances, as he had experienced a hard childhood and already overcome many obstacles in life. When Bland was left stranded by his vehicle one day in 2017, he had no means to fix the vehicle and no other method of transportation. With no one else to turn to, he reached out to his mentor, Aaron Brown, who picked Bland up and drove him to our Troy branch. As they sat in Amanda Jenkins’ office, she and her team sprang into action. They contacted our preferred auto dealers and helped Bland find a reasonably priced, reliable vehicle. Through the collective efforts of Brown and Guardian team members across the state, enough funds were raised to cover most of the cost for Bland to purchase the vehicle.
Jenkins has been able to stay in touch with Bland and Brown throughout the years and on Friday, May 20, 2022, experienced a full circle moment when she was invited to attend the Charles Henderson Middle School Graduation to see Bland honored as the commencement speaker. During his speech, he discussed graduating from the University of Alabama at the top of his class, serving as president of his fraternity, and being active in many on-campus organizations. He also discussed the obstacles he faced, how he overcame them, and how important it is to never give up.
Jenkins was overjoyed to be reunited with the young man she met many years ago.
“I found myself so overcome with joy to see Alex rise above every challenge and be successful,” she said. “He was so grateful for everything Guardian did to help him and he gave me the biggest hug. That moment and his story just goes to show that a little kindness goes a long way.”