Jamie Taylor has Down Syndrome, but that’s not what makes him stand out. His love and comical personality have made him an example at BYU.
“You can’t walk into the Y-Serve office without getting a hug from Jamie,” Y-Serve director Chris Crippen said. “He’s an example to me of pure love and service, but he has such a fun side to him as well. He’s always playing pranks, telling jokes or even having sword fights with the yard sticks.”
Taylor has always made it a point to be happy, in spite of personal challenges. His resolve to spread laughter always remains unhindered.
A few months ago, Taylor’s father got sick and was sent to the hospital. He has been there ever since. Coping with the pains of a hospitalized father can be hard on anyone, yet Taylor faces this trial the way way he plows through any other trial – through his faith in Jesus Christ.
“I don’t think I’ve had challenges,” Taylor said. “I’ve had trouble in the past, but I’ve gone to the Savior and prayed to Him. That has helped me to build my testimony.”
Taylor’s demonstrates his faith in Christ through his service to others. He volunteered more than 700 hours a year working in the Y-Serve programs, all within the past seven years. His service, love and faith in Christ have been the strongest weapons when facing adversity.
“Service is key,” he said. “Jesus Christ served us, and in return we serve Him. I’m serving Him, and that lifts me up.”
Taylor’s selfless service has led to the creation of the Jamie Taylor Award, the highest award in Y-Serve, which is awarded once a year. Taylor himself gets to choose the recipient. The award was originally offered to Taylor; however, he turned it down, saying it would mean more to him if the award was given to others who showed a genuine spirit of service.
Taylor’s laughter is contagious. His enthusiasm lifts everyone’s spirits. During a BYU volleyball game earlier this season, Taylor and a few of his friends were invited to dance on the court during half-time. Without hesitation, Taylor ran to the middle of the Y and unleashed his full arsenal of dance moves, all while cheering on his BYU Cougars. The audience loved it.
“He sure knows how to pump up a crowd,” Crippen said. “He loves the attention and has no fear.” Crippen said Taylor has even acted as the master of ceremonies for events.
Will West is on the Y-Serve council and has worked with Taylor since 2008. A few years and many prank wars later, they have become great friends.
“We call him our direct line to heaven,” West said. “He is so willing to do anything for you. He’s your friend. He’ll come up and talk with you. He’s the part of the office that really makes this place feel like home.”
Nastassja Krupczyski works at the front desk in the Y-Serve office and loves seeing the room light up whenever Taylor walks in.
“He has such a positive effect on the office; everyone loves him.” Krupczyski said. “No matter what he does, he does it with a smile. No matter what needs to be done, Jamie is always the first person to say, ‘I’ll do it for you.'”
Ashleigh McDougal is the program director for Best Buddies, a program at BYU that matches college students with individuals in the community who have intellectual and developmental disabilities. The program allows these individuals with disabilities to develop meaningful one-on-one friendships with college students. For McDougal, it allowed her the opportunity to meet Taylor, as he is heavily involved in the program.
“Jamie is the most selfless person I know,” McDougal said. “He’ll just come into the office and give you a hug and ask how your day is going. Then he remembers all the little details of your life. He’s always thinking of other people before he thinks about himself.”