BUCHANAN COUNTY, Va. - Advertisers expect you to remember their commercials, but one of our advertisers didn't expect their commercials to spark an inner talent in a young autistic boy in Buchanan County.
His ability came from watching and learning the whole commercial, along with all of the numbers given out and all of those involved with its making. He got a chance to meet the names and voices behind the commercial and we were there for the meeting.
14-year-old Jacob Tester is meeting people that he knows very well for the first time. He's heard their voices and seen the commercials for the regional law firm of Wolfe, Williams, Rutherford and Reynolds, and he's memorized them. "I just talk about it, come here and get your Social Security, black lung benefits at Wolf, Williams, Rutherford and Reynolds," Jacob says.
Ralph Stanley II lends his voice and music to the commercials, so he too wanted to meet this young man. "Doing your songs you always want to hit somebody someway. The song "Daddy's Dinner Bucket" touches a lot of coal miners and the families of coal miners, but this is a very special day. I'm glad I got to be a part of it," Ralph II said.
It's special because those commercials unlocked an ability that neither Jacob nor his mother knew he had. "About a year ago he started calling off everybody's numbers [after seeing the commercial]. When I would need a number then I would know who to go to. I don't need a phonebook," his mother Ruth says.
And now he doesn't need any seed money for his future educational hopes. The law firm presented Jacob and his mother with a $2,000 check to help with that. "The story of the commercials, [Ralph] and I sat down with a legal pad and we just talked from the heart. Now to see two years later this young man's story, is amazing," Attorney Heith Reynolds said.
"He lost his father in 2005 in an accident and he had brain surgery a week later. It's hard, it's been a struggle and it's amazing. I appreciated it," Ruth Tester said.
When folks say special children, they mean it. They possess hidden talents and feelings that we all wish we had.