I was born with congenital cataracts and myopic pressure in both eyes. I had surgery done on both eyes back in 1998, where they took out my natural lenses and the cataracts, got rid of the myopic pressure, and replaced my natural lenses with synthetic surgical implants. That’s the way that I see.
Finding a job was very important to me because I have always been a worker. If I wasn’t working, I was going to school. If I wasn’t going to school, I was working. It was a way to stay off the streets because, growing up in my neighborhood, we had some good times and we had some not so good times. Things started escalating into violence, where you would hear gunshots every day, where someone was being shot or robbed.
I worked for the federal government from 1981 to 2005, and ended up losing my job. I went back to my old position of being a foot messenger because I wanted to get out there and work. It worked out for awhile, but then I said, “There’s got to be something better than this.”
So that’s when my wife Shirley decided to do the foot work and paperwork for me, and she sent out hundreds of letters to agencies around the city. She had me get registered with Goodwill Industries of Greater New York and Northern New Jersey, and that’s when I met Martha Jackson and also, an agency within Goodwill®, GoodTemps. It’s not just any ordinary temp agency. I’ve been to temp agencies where you fill out paperwork, you take a few exams, but then you wait and you wait.
A day or two later, Mark Dixon from GoodTemps contacted me and said, “Hey Darryl, we have a job available for you. It’s temporary but you can start immediately.” I was like, “Wow, that is amazing!” I nearly fell out of my bed when I heard this. I was happy just to get to work, just to do any kind of work that would earn a paycheck.
Martha Jackson collaborated with the Commission for the Blind, and they got me the services I needed for employment and equipment that I needed for my legal blindness to help me to do my job effectively.
I’ve never been so happy as I am working as an NYPD police administrative aide on the midnight tour. People come in and have a complaint, and I gladly greet them and tell them to have a seat. I get the paperwork they need, fill out their information, and give them their complaint number.
I also help the officers if they need anything like help processing their arrests of people that they bring into the precinct for processing, and if they do a traffic stop, they can call me over the phone and I will look up plates and do warrant checks.
I’m just blessed. I’m very happy just to be working and helping other people.
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