Goodwill Industries International, Inc.
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    Joy Henry
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    My Story: Joy Henry

    I had just gotten out of the hospital and was in recovery from emergency surgery for pancreatic cancer. My husband at the time abandoned me and my three children because he was unwilling to take care of a sick wife and family on his own.

    We were thrown out of our house, moved into a trailer park, and I was forced to have my family separated into two trailers. It was a nightmare. I had to start taking public assistance, was unemployed and had no means of supporting my family or myself.

    In 2006, I walked into a Goodwill Industries of Ashtabula store like I did on a regular basis and started talking to the manager. I told her that I loved the atmosphere and would love to work there. When I went to Goodwill I felt like I was at home. The manager said, “Well guess what? We have some job openings right now.” I applied and got an interview that day.

    I started as a cashier and was quickly promoted to head cashier. Less than two years later, I became the manager of a different Goodwill store which I loved. My crew was amazing and they were like family to me.

    As I managed that store I began deteriorating. I would get dizzy spells and black out in the middle of the day. At the time, I had gotten into another abusive relationship and was beaten down to the point where I just didn’t take care of myself.  He would tell me that it was all in my head and that I was exaggerating.

    The staff at Goodwill told me to go to the hospital, that I really was sick. The doctor diagnosed me with severe uncontrolled diabetes and told me that my limited movement was due to peripheral neuropathy caused by untreated systemic illness.

    I had a very hard time managing the store and keeping up with the physical demands so Goodwill’s production manager talked to me and decided to promote me to vocational evaluator so I could sit and recover while still working for Goodwill. The promotion allowed me to obtain medical insurance through Goodwill and treat my diabetes. I received high accommodations as an evaluator but my health took another turn for the worse.

    One day I was in the evaluation room with a client and a helper when I started to get very dizzy. I saw rainbows and lost my balance. The helper called my supervisor and had me taken to the emergency room. I found out later that I had suffered a severe stroke. I was paralyzed in my left side and spent eight weeks in the hospital in recovery. I was unable to talk or move for over three months and suffered an emotional breakdown.

    After my stroke I wanted to stay at Goodwill. I felt safe and loved there. They placed me in a position that was perfect for me. I could no longer read or write, and I had to sit down. I was offered a calm position sorting textiles, which has been helping me to heal ever since.

    About a year and a half I was approached by the marketing intern and asked to appear in a commercial for Goodwill.  Today I am known as ‘The Goodwill Girl’ and I appear in most of the local commercials.

    Goodwill has honestly changed my life: physically, emotionally and spiritually. Before I came to Goodwill I struggled every day to wake up in the morning and carry on. I had almost nothing to call my own and life was meaningless. Now with Goodwill, I am so happy. I have no stress, and for the first time in a very long time I feel human. I can feel myself smiling, laughing and healing, and I truly feel cared about. This place is my therapy. In the years that I have been here, I have been educated and empowered.

    Your comment will be held for moderation until approved. For questions about Goodwill programs and services, please use our locator and contact your nearest Goodwill headquarters.

    • Bernie O'Donnell
      December 23rd, 2012 at 4:39 pm

      A very grumpy older lady was ahead of me in the customer check out line at the Maple Vally WA store, and was being very rude to the cashier, The cashier’s name is Reanne, I believe. Reanne, was polite, and apoligizing to the customer who was finding lots of things wrong with nothing of consequence. The customer, who was Phillipino realizing that the cashier was Phillipino, starting saying apparently very crude things to Reanne in Phillipino language. Reanne responded in Phillipino, and though I don’t know that language, she was still trying her best to diffuse the situtation.

      As an innocent by-stander in line, I made mention to Reanne that I thought she was providing exceptional customer service in spite of the circumstances. The customer left, and I offered to speak to the manager to let her manager know that she did a great job handling a very tough customer.

      Reanne began to cry. It was her first week on the job. I felt sorry for her, but knew she would be fine, because she was so kind, and sincere in spite of the rude customer.

      This occurred two days before Christmas. This Goodwill store, with employees like Reanne, is proof that there are good people out there, even amongst the crabby ones.

      Hang in there Reanne. And good job, Goodwill, for finding an exceptional employee!

    • Alexandra
      December 27th, 2012 at 11:08 am

      Joy Henry is a beautiful and truly inspirational person who I am proud to call a friend. This story couldn’t even begin to show how much she has overcome and she is really incredible.

    • Eileen
      January 3rd, 2013 at 4:10 pm

      Joy, gee–you’ve had struggle, but despite you continue to land on your feet. You are an inspiration to us all, your story particularly touched my heart and soul. Please continue forward for us all,


    • kris baas
      January 14th, 2013 at 10:19 am

      glad goodwill was there for you. i love the goodwill used to go there 4 times a week until i lost my job due to a back problem which resulted in me not being able to meet the 50 lb lifting requirment. the goodwill near me was hiring. i used to tell people all the time that id love to work at goodwill. i applied again and again and again. nothing but i did notice after several visits to the store that they had hired some. i was sad but glad things worked out for you.

    • Deborah Walker
      January 28th, 2015 at 7:30 pm

      Dear Joy, your story brought me to tears! How wonderful that the people at your Good Will were so willing to work through your various problems; not many employers are so willing to make accommodations for their employees who have health or personal difficulties. In fact, we have all read stories of people being fired because they have cancer or other problems. I hope you continue to prosper and find some peace of mind. You are a shining example to others!

    • Edward
      March 24th, 2015 at 9:48 pm

      Joy Henry,Your a real inspiration and have been dealt more then you deserve.Keep up the good works.
      You will be in my prayers,Ed

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