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    Lonnie Willis
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    My Story: Lonnie Willis Jr.

    I grew up in Toledo, OH, and as a young adult my days were consumed with alcohol, drugs and violence. I remember being in my 30s and there being a lot of arguing, a lot of fights with people on the job and people on the streets. I had gotten out of control, but I couldn’t stop it.

    My family and friends tried to intervene, but my life had escalated into some serious charges of violence.  I served about 10 years in different correctional institutions – 90 days here, six months there – for minor offenses. In 2008, I was convicted and sentenced to two years in prison on an aggravated assault charge.

    When I was in prison, I asked God to help me. I knew the problem was me. Upon my release from prison in August 2010, I was no longer using alcohol or drugs. I said goodbye to my family in Toledo and came to Columbus, looking to start a new life. I was enticed by promises of opportunity.

    Promises of work and a place to stay did not materialize, so my first nights in Columbus were spent sleeping on the streets. I eventually landed at the Hilltop Lutheran Church, doing odd jobs and meeting David Foster who helps at-risk individuals in the community turn their lives around.

    It was David who guided me into the employment training courses offered through workforce development at Goodwill Columbus. These would prove to be invaluable to me.

    In November of 2010, an opportunity to load and unload trucks at the Goodwill Distribution Center surfaced through Goodwill’s Director of Retail Operations Vivian Reyna. I took it. I knew this was my chance, and I had to do a good job.

    Being personable, getting the job done and showing leadership qualities has resulted in me receiving a couple of job promotions. I am thankful, and today, I greet the public as an attendant at one of Goodwill’s attended donation centers.

    I enjoy everything about my job. They trust me, and they care about my well being at Goodwill.

    Hear more stories from people like Lonnie. »

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    • Bridgett Willis
      May 26th, 2012 at 6:15 pm

      Lonnie, we are so happy and grateful for your turnaround! You sure have come a long way. By putting God first, old behaviors in the past, and dedicating your talents to be a part of a great company like Goodwill Columbus is truly an exceptional thing! Your children are definately proud of you and I adore all of the great and wonderful things that you do! We love you over here!

    • Deborah Hall
      May 30th, 2012 at 12:32 pm

      Such an awesome story. Goodwill is a great organization which helps a lot of people. Mr. Willis, congratulations on your success.

      • Kimbaerly
        June 20th, 2012 at 2:51 am

        Just to piggy bank off of what Deborah stated, Goodwill is one of the top ten non-profit organization. What great opportunity and programs they have for all whom are truly dedicated to making a different in there life as well as other. Lonnie, I declare and decree good success over your life. That the leading of the Holy Spirit continue to guide you in every area of your life. God receives all the Glory!!!!!

    • Tera Green
      September 6th, 2012 at 6:33 pm

      Lonnie your turn around is great. It is motivating and encouraging to others. It is also proof again that GOD can do all things but fail. May God continue to guide and direct your path as he see fit. In Jesus Name. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you” Matthew 6:33

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