Person of the Week: Sam DiFranco

RALEIGH For the past 40 years, the Tammy Lynn Center has met a critical need in the Triangle by serving children and adults with developmental disabilities.

To provide the best care, it relies heavily on donations and on volunteers like DiFranco.

"We always encourage visitors to walk through the center, because you really can't appreciate it until you walk the halls here and you'll see what these people are doing," he said. "They're very special."

DiFranco says he first visited the center 12 years ago.

"I literally left here an emotional basket case, because I'd never seen a facility like this with so many dedicated people and being blessed with two healthy children, didn't realize what people had to go through," he said.

DiFranco was so impressed, he jumped in to help.

For the past decade, he has overseen countless projects, including "A Toast to the Triangle," the center's biggest fundraiser.

"A Toast to the Triangle" features food from the best restaurants in the region. The 25 annual "A Toast to the Triangle," is on Sunday at the NC State McKimmon Center.

DiFranco says he just believes in giving back and was hooked on the Tammy Lynn Center after one visit.

"You never know, you become like me, you become a lifer, that's a good thing," DiFranco said.

The staff at Tammy Lynn says he's a volunteer with no limits.

"He is there for us whatever we need," said Maria Hernandez, with the Tammy Lynn Center. "We just simply have to pick up the phone."

"I feel like I'm just the go-to guy, outside volunteer that whenever they want something, if I can do it, I will do it. If I can't do it, I'll get somebody that can," DiFranco said.

DiFranco says he urges others to visit the center and learn for themselves how good giving back can feel.

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