My Story: Troy Wilkinson

I left my longtime position as a Black Hawk Community College janitor in Moline, IL, not realizing how difficult it was going to be to find a new job. Going seven to eight months without work really weighed heavily on me. I feared losing my home and the secure life I had worked toward.

I’m an Army veteran. While getting help to pay my heat and electric bills through the Veteran’s Assistance Program, I met Steve Bunn, a case manager with Goodwill Industries of the Heartland’s veterans program. Steve asked if I would be interested in working 12 hours per week at the Goodwill® store while I trained and pursued employment options. I was more than ready for a paycheck again, let me tell you!

I began training as a temporary employee at the Moline Goodwill store. I saw the store, I met Cindy, the store manager, and I liked what I experienced. I have a strong work ethic, and appreciated what Goodwill had to offer me and veterans like me.  My temporary job became a part-time position.

As my skills grew, my work hours increased and eventually allowed me to reach full-time status after conquering the cash register. I know it sounds silly, but I had an intense dread of the cash register. I’ve been abroad with the military; yet, the silly cash register held me back. In fact, I passed up an earlier opportunity for promotion because of my fear of operating the cash register.

While I had fear, the team around me at the store, knew I could do it. With their support, I completed extra register training, conquered my fears, overcame my barrier and gained a promotion at the Goodwill store. Today, I work on the cash register, in the donations area or with my coworkers on the production floor.

I’ve been at Goodwill for more than a year.  I love it!  Everyone is treated equally.  The supervisors and higher-ups ask your opinion and listen to your suggestions. This spring, I had an opportunity unlike any I had ever faced before. Goodwill presented me its Graduate of the Year award to recognize my work and success in building a new life for myself after overcoming struggles right here at home.

Thank you Goodwill for helping me change my life.

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