I made the A/B honor roll growing up. I had some problems with school and didn’t graduate. I started trying to find work, and I struggled for awhile. I found a job as a car audio installer assistant, and it was a great job. It was a trade I was learning, and I was really excited about working with my hands.
In 2000, I was involved in a car accident where an individual ran a red light. Where I was sitting, I received the full impact of the crash. It shattered the left side of my face and it paralyzed the left side of my body. I was 21 years old when that happened.
You really feel kind of hopeless, you know? You’re not excited about life because you’re not contributing.
I didn’t know about the AbilityOne program until I went to Goodwill Industries of South Texas. They told me about it, and I have to tell you, it was really exciting. I felt hope again. I felt like there was something good going to happen.
It’s an emotional experience, and I really think this program helps build confidence and hope. It makes you feel like you’re part of the community, and you don’t feel like you’re just an outcast trying to survive. You feel like you’re an important individual in society.
When I found this job and I started learning, I felt fulfilled. I felt like, ‘I worked today and it was good. I have a good job.’ You feel that satisfaction. And everybody loves a paycheck!