Michael Darling plays his guitar and sings to more than 40 patients at Mitchell-Hollingsworth Nursing Home and works to get the residents there to sing with him.
Some of them clap, while others tap their feet to the rhythm of the music.
"He comes once a month and they love it," said Jerrolynn Herron, director of resident services for Mitchell-Hollingsworth. "He is just a joy and they look forward to his visits."
Darling spends 60 hours or more a month visiting and playing music for patients under the care of Amedisys Hospice.
His work earned him 2012 Volunteer of the Year for Amedisys' Gulf Coast Region.
Darling's gift to engage people through is music is obvious on this day as he makes a routine call at Mitchell-Hollingsworth. Resident Rodney Hayes sat in his motorized chair listening to Darling sing and perform.
Hayes smiled when Darling got Herron and another woman to sing with him.
"I like coming out here and hearing him sing," Hayes said as he clapped his approval. "He seems like he has a lot of fun."
Darling closed his hour-long performance with "Amazing Grace," a hymn that almost everyone in attendance knew and sang along with.
"I've been doing this nine years," said Darling, who retired from the Tennessee Valley Authority in 2002.
"I love it. I love being around the people and giving them a little joy."
Mitchell-Hollingsworth isn't the only nursing home where Darling performs.
"I do them all," he said.
"He will come for special events here and if we're going some place," Herron said. "I don't think he ever turns anybody down. He's quite an amazing man."
Not only does he play for the clients at area nursing homes, he is the Northwest Alabama area representative for the Christian Motorcycle Association, active at his church, hosts foreign college students in his home, and volunteers at Amedisys Hospice.
"He's been a volunteer for us about 18 months," said Ann Aldridge, the volunteer coordinator for Amedisys Hospice. "He volunteers about 60 hours a month with us. I don't know how he does everything else, too.
"What he does, speaks for itself," she said. "He's an amazing man."
Darling said he volunteers 80-100 hours a month.
"But it's what I like to do," he said.
Darling, who lives in Killen, said he began singing and playing music in 1975. "I get so much enjoyment out of seeing others enjoy the music."
Aldridge said Darling also has a passion for helping foreign students attending the University of North Alabama.
He said his children live away from the area.
"I get to be dad or uncle or just a friend to these students when they need someone," he said.
He said he has had students from 23 countries in his home at times.
"At Christmas we had nine students from three foreign countries at my house for dinner," Darling said.
He said it never fails, each semester he will get a call from a student who knows a foreign student who needs a place to stay.
"They'll stay with me until they finally find a place," he said. "Sometimes it's a day or two, sometimes longer."
He said when his son brought his new granddaughter to visit, the students lined up outside his house to see the baby and give her a gift.
"That was such a blessing for me to have them come," he said.
Aldridge said Darling has a special place in his heart for people.
"He gives his life to others, and you can't say that about many people," she said. "He's been volunteering at this level for years. And the only reason is just to give to others."
Darling said volunteering and doing what he does is a way to give back to God.
"God has given me so much. He has put this on my heart to do," said the 62-year-old. "I get a blessing from volunteering and being with people. I have met so many people who have such fantastic lives that they have shared with me.
"There's nothing like seeing the smiles on the people's faces."
So when will he slow down?
"I'll keep going until I can't," Darling said. "As long as they want to me to keep coming and performing and volunteering I will. It's something I look forward to. It's what I was meant to do."
Tom Smith can be reached at 256-740-5757 or tom.smith@TimesDaily.com.