My Story: Dwayne Hodges

I came to Goodwill Industries in Davenport, Iowa in December 2007, after having served nine years and two months on a federal drug conspiracy. The community corrections house that I was placed in upon release knew about my background in the Marine Corps, and they referred me to services that could help me in reintegrating back into society.

I was skeptical and felt like I was going for a handout from some organization. I was very worried because I had lost everything when I went to prison, and I felt defeated about getting a job, regaining my independence and self-worth because of my felony.

Upon walking into the offices at Goodwill’s employment services, I did not feel like I was being judged because of where I had come from. The staff would even come and get me when I didn’t have a vehicle, which helped me tremendously.

The Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program (HVRP) representative showed me everything that I needed, from creating a résumé to filling out job applications all the way up to getting me clothing to go on the interviews. I was very reluctant to reveal my background to employers and the HVRP Rep encouraged me to just be honest and truthful and the doors would open for me.

The experience working in the Goodwill store was extremely valuable, as it took away my fear of not being employable and removed the anxiety that I faced after being away from society for so long. I was fortunate in being able to gain employment that lasted two years from a résumé that I submitted at the Davenport office. The phone calls after I gained employment were very thoughtful in knowing that follow up services were available, and I wasn’t just a number that went through the office.

Those actions by the staff motivated me to start school where I graduated in May of 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in Christian counseling. My main motivation to pursue a degree was to eventually go back to Goodwill Industries to work and help the same group of people that helped me successfully integrate back into society.

I am coming up on five years that I have been gainfully employed, and I am extremely grateful to Goodwill Industries for truly living the mission of advancing the well-being of people who experience barriers to independence. Thank you Goodwill for helping me regain me.