After playing three seasons of football as an all-district offensive lineman for John Tyler High School in Tyler, TX, I was used to adversity; however, nothing could prepare me for what I would face after graduation.
In 2000, one week after graduation, I was a victim of a drive-by shooting. I woke in a hospital bed in an intensive care unit to find my family there with the news that I had been paralyzed. When I returned home, I recognized that going to college on a football scholarship was no longer an option.
Although I qualified for disability benefits, I wanted and needed to find a job. After five years of searching and having several doors close on me, I discovered an organization called DARS, the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services. I searched for three years to no avail, so DARS supported my enrollment in Goodwill’s training program.
In 2008, I was set up to participate in the Work Adjustment Training (WAT) at Goodwill Industries of East Texas. Goodwill has shown me both personally and professionally that I can be successful with anything that I put my mind to. Now that I’m employed, I’ve become more independent with my daily duties as a husband, father and a coordinator for Goodwill.
I’ve gained a great deal of confidence in myself while working at Goodwill. I was never a person who would take charge of a situation or confront a problem head on by myself. Now I’m always looking forward to taking on a challenge and the opportunities it brings.
Goodwill has given me pride in myself and my ability to help others. Since entering the Work Adjustment Program as a trainee and learning the skills and principles that are taught, I’ve become very passionate about how I can now help individuals. Working at Goodwill has taught me how to build relationships with small and large companies to train and hire individuals with barriers to employment.
Through hard work, dedication and volunteering, I was able to move up to a higher position during my time working for Goodwill. I also use my life story as an example for the consumers that enter the WAT program. Goodwill has shown me professionally how to grow as an individual, and that success is always near when you work hard.
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