Life’s little things
Emile Mild perseveres through early life obstacles to shine in Bethel’s dining center
By Godfrey Mpetey | Royal Report
Emile Mild walks through the Monson Dining Center, equipped with towel and spray bottle in hand. She weaves throughout the student body, stopping to wipe down the tables. Life has come in full circle for Mild. More than 20 years ago, nobody could have imagined her life now.
Born in South Korea, Emile and her younger sister Katie were adopted by Tammi and David Mild. While Katie grew up fully developed, her older sister wouldn’t. Born prematurely and developmentally disabled, Mild had no ability to talk or walk correctly. When she was four years old, a University of Minnesota physician told the Mild family their daughter may never be independent of them.
“How dare you tell me she could never walk or talk,” Tammi said.
“God has graced her with abilities she wasn’t supposed to have.” — Tammi Mild
Emile and her family sought the help of specialists. Mild endured years of physical therapy to strengthen her legs. She battled through years of speech therapy to develop Mild’s dictation.
While attending Meadow Creek Christian School, Mild tested her abilities. Principal Mike Mignard acknowledged Mild’s looming potential. Mignard sought to place Emile in classes best fit for her ability.
“We owe a lot of Emile’s development to Mike. He has been a blessing to us and Bethel.” Tammi said about Mignard.
“God has graced her with abilities she wasn’t supposed to have.” Tammi exclaimed.
Once Mild finished high school, she joined the workforce. Her mother discovered Transition Plus, a program that assists individuals with disabilities into the work environment. As the dining service administrator at Bethel, Tammi petitioned to have her work alongside her.
After 15 years of work and the age of 31, Mild struts throughout the dining center, jubilant about her tenure at Bethel. Mild mingles with students, lightening the dining center. She loves to ask how students and faculty’s day are going.
“(I like) the students and the quality of work,” Mild said. “I’ve made a lot of friends here.”
Her passion for work matches her love for Bethel athletics. Mild befriended many student-athletes at Bethel. She isn’t afraid to stop whatever she’s doing to engage with them. She can be seen at nearly every Bethel athletic event, sporting her navy and vegas. Her mother illustrated times where Emile would see people wearing St Thomas attire “Bethel is better! Coach J is a better coach,” Mild said to a Tommie fan.
“I love that we can go to games for free and don’t have to pay much also.” said Emile.
Emile steers towards the student athletes at Bethel University. Many atheltes find Emile as their major superfan. Bethel student-athlete Jackson Canfield has a unique friendship with Emile since his freshman year. Emile spends the last couple minutes of her break to talk with Canfield.
“She’s always been friendly with the athletes.” said Canfield. “But it was when we found that we had the same birthday when the friendship started.”
Mild and Canfield celebrate their birthdays on April 11. Each year reminds him how much intentional Mild is. Canfield commends Emile for being selfless and investing in others. It only takes Canfield three words to explain Emile.
“Too much joy,” said Canfield. “She worked the dining center for 12 years but acts as it’s her first week, that’s how excited she is.
Emile’s joy and selflessness shines outside of the dining center. “She has no qualms to talk to you.” Tammi said. “If she has something to say, she’ll just say it.”
Once at a Twins Fest, Emile and her family met Minnesota’s star player Joe Mauer. Others in line had pristine objects for him to sign. Mild had a different agenda.
“Hi Joe, congratulations on your wedding. I bet you’re so excited. What are your wedding colors?” Mild asked Mauer.
“She was way more interested in him.” said Tammi.
“She doesn’t know that she’s impacting so many people at Bethel. She has taught me to be conscious of reaching out and investing in people’s lives. That shows purely what love is. Emile has that down.” — Jackson Canfield
Mild credits God for showing her how to be a good person.
“My greatest moment of my life was probably when I asked Jesus into my heart.” Mild said.
Her impact on Bethel’s campus is above her acknowledgement. Canfield gives credit to Emile for teaching him that life is about the little things.
“She doesn’t know that she’s impacting so many people at Bethel.” said Canfield. “She has taught me to be conscious of reaching out and investing in people’s lives. That shows purely what love is. Emile has that down.”