Robbie Green is Goodwill Industries International’s 2014 Achiever of the Year
In March 2008, my buddy was cutting my hair. I felt ill and dizzy. I got up to get some air, fell over and hit my head on a chair. My friend helped me up, put me on the couch and called my daughter. I stood up again and fell, breaking the coffee table, then went into convulsions.
At the hospital, paralyzed, I was told I would never walk again. While at the hospital, a man came in to visit. He was a preacher and preached at a church in an area that my cousins lived. I explained to him how I got injured, and he stated to me, “You know they told me that I wouldn’t walk; but six years later here I stand before you.” At that point, he turned and walked out.
Being a veteran, I transferred over to the VA — that is when my life started over. With the help of the nurses, staff, my determination and drive, I am here today. Even though I was told there is no way that I would walk again, I informed the staff that I know someone higher. At the end of April, I could move one leg; at the end of May, I could move the other. What really confirmed my determination is that one morning I got up forgetting that I couldn’t walk. I made four steps before I realized what I was doing.
I have been given a second chance. I’m trying to correct things and I think God put me here for a reason. I love life now. They told me I would never work, but I’ve been at Goodwill Industries of Forth Worth for almost two years. They told me I wouldn’t drive; I have a van in the parking lot. They told me that I wouldn’t live alone; I have been living alone in an apartment. When I first came to Goodwill, I didn’t know anything about computers. With training and patience from the staff at Goodwill, I learned how to work with hard drives and refurbish computers.
When I go back to the VA, the staff is amazed of all my accomplishments. I was encouraged by a friend and therapist to participate in the National Veteran Wheelchair Games. The first game was in Pittsburgh, PA. I won gold medals in shot-put, javelin, 100-meter race and softball, as well as bronze in 9-ball. The following years I just concentrated on track events. Just last year, I brought home two gold medals and three silver medals. For this year’s competition, I’m going for the gusto and practicing every Thursday.
I also do volunteer work at the VA. I speak with the wounded veterans to help motivate and get them moving. I tell them, “If you don’t use it, you are going to lose it.” Many of them are angry at their situations and ask me why I always have a smile. I tell them it takes a lot of effort to get angry and less effort to smile.