My Story: Kyle Plaza


When I was 18 years old, I was driving down to meet my brother and was involved in a severe accident. I rolled my truck six times, and was transferred to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center. I spent a few days there in recovery and then went from there to rehabilitation. I suffered severe traumatic brain injury.

My IEP teacher from high school suggested I go to the Department of Rehabilitation Services (DORS). DORS then referred me to Goodwill Industries of Monocacy Valley’s brain recovery program. I was enrolled in a pre-employment training class, where I met Patie Elsberry.

I was having a tough time dealing with the effect of not being who I was before the accident. Patie helped me understand how I was still the same person, just facing more challenges.

Toward the end of the training with Goodwill, they found me a job in an auto shop, Hi Lo Auto sales. I had a three-month internship there. They said I did an awesome job, so they decided they wanted to hire me on.

Other than getting the job, my goal was to get my driver’s license back – it was a really big deal for me. I had trouble with the written part. After the first time, I was beyond upset because it was the only thing I wanted. I failed the second time, and I spoke with Patie at Goodwill and she got me on track.

It wasn’t until the third time when I actually got it. And once I had gotten it, I was beyond happy. It was awesome. It was one of the things that helped me get my freedom back.

My next day at work, I was asked to go down to pick up a car for the shop and I actually had to go through the same spot of where my accident was. At first, I wasn’t real happy about it; but looking back now, I’m glad it went down the way that it did. It was pushing me to go farther, and I wouldn’t have done it on my own.

I’ve been working at Hi Lo for a year now. My boss wants to train me to be the alignment tech to further me at his company. It’s only been a year, but I’ve definitely come a long way.

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