Southern Indiana man finds purpose at the mall

Southern Indiana man finds purpose at the mall
Austin Metzler works at Green Tree Mall for Opinions. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Metzler had his leg amputated in 2015, and had trouble finding work. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Metzler had his leg amputated in 2015, and had trouble finding work. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
He grateful for the job and the support system that is helping him to walk again, one step at a time. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
He grateful for the job and the support system that is helping him to walk again, one step at a time. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

CLARKSVILLE, IN (WAVE) - When Austin Metzler arrives at the Green Tree Mall he is grateful to be at work. He gathers his clipboard and hits the floor as a recruiter for a market research company.

"Once you feel like you are still a part of something, you got nothing to cry about," Metzler said.

Metzler is known around the mall for his contagious laugh and strong work ethic. He says it took a lot of effort to overcome what he's persevered.

>> More Clark County news on wave3.com

"I thought life was over with," Metzler said. "But I called on the name of God and in that particular moment I knew I wasn't going to be alone."

In 2015, Metzler lost his right leg above the knee to a hereditary clotting deficiency. Three years later, he's in a power wheel chair and has a microprocessor prosthetic.

He is anxious to use the prosthetic that runs on batteries and will one-day record Metzler's walking patterns.

"With great equipment and places like Opinion, that gives me a place to feel a part of something," he said. "That's the stuff that brings you back."

Metzler says finding a job was not easy. Once he was strong enough, he started applying.

"I went everywhere I thought they would hire somebody with a disability, but they didn't," he said.

"He has some tenacity and a great spirit," Emily McCallum told us.

Three months ago, McCallum gave Metzler the opportunity he was looking for. She knew he would have a support system.

"It feels like he is my little brother, and I try to encourage him," Clifford Todd said.

Todd also takes surveys for Opinions and says eventually Metzler will walk the mall collecting surveys.

"You can't let your handicap be your disability," Todd said.

Todd knows because he is a double amputee.

He has been using prosthetics for 10 years and walks the mall, inspiring Metzler to walk.

"I still have a long way to go, but I did 60 feet on the walker for the first time, so that's not too bad," Metzler said.

His positivity has taken him far and he plans to go farther.

"I realized my life didn't end when they took the leg," he said.

Metzler's goal is to walk 400 yards on his prosthetic. He plans to achieve his goal doing what he loves.

"This job is going to get me there," he said. "I'm here every day. I get to talk to people and I think it's awesome. I stretch out just a bit farther each time."

Copyright 2018 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.