Aidan Bailey is the grandson of Terry Gearhart, Quality Technician, with nearly 30 years of service at Stryten Energy’s Manchester, Iowa, plant. Stryten would like to share the good work that Aidan has provided to his community with the support of his grandparents.
“Today is a good day to make someone smile!” That is the mantra 18-year-old Aidan Bailey (a.k.a. Mr. Smiley) lives by. How does he go about accomplishing that? He seeks out and serves those in need or going through a hard time.
“Aidan is a very kind and loving young man. He would do what he can to help a family in need. He gets this from his grandma, Lori,” said Terry.
“Aidan’s favorite thing is to help others,” said his grandmother, Lori Gearhart. “His dream is to make the world a better place.”
Not much can stop this young man. Born with severe medical issues that have impacted his vision, breathing and overall development, Aidan has endured multiple surgeries (including two separate lung transplants), therapies, treatments, and hospital stays – one of which was a year long.
“When Aidan was in the hospital, he could fill his room with doctors, nurses and many other hospital employees who just came to visit with him daily, and he would always be smiling,” said Terry.
“Everyone’s got a story. Aidan’s just got a bigger story,” said Lori. “But Aidan does not see it that way. He does not think that he’s had a hard time. This makes his giving spirit even more special.”
When Aidan was in 4th grade, he wanted to surprise Lori with a new pillow, and not just any pillow. He wanted to make the pillow himself. So he asked if he could learn to sew. A family friend honored that request, and he got right to work so he could present his grandmother with a very special, handmade pillow.
Excited about his new hobby that could be used to bring joy to others, he continued to develop his sewing skills. At the end of 6th grade he made hand-sewn pillowcases for all of his preschool through 6th grade teachers. It was not long before Aidan was sewing other household items that he could donate. Word quickly got around about Aidan’s sewing projects, and he was approached for a paying job. And so Mr. Smiley’s Creations began.
“Aidan was hired to make rice bags. These are cloth bags filled with rice that can be used as cold or hot packs,” explained Lori. “This brought a whole new dimension to his mission to serve others. He realized that he could sell his items and donate money to those in need.”
Aidan keeps a busy schedule of events, from craft shows where he sets up a table with his products for sale, to delivering his hand-crafted items to those in need. He accomplishes all of that while attending online school and completing daily respiratory treatments.
Mr. Smiley’s Creations is growing. What started as a single table at a craft show is now three booths with five tables and five garment racks.
“Aidan asked me to do all the quality checks on his creations to check his work,” said Terry. “Being that’s one of my jobs here at Stryten Energy that is why he thinks I should look at his work.”
Mr. Smiley, you are an inspiration to us all! Remember, today is a good day to make someone smile!
Learn more about Aidan and his mission to help others on his Facebook page.