My Story: Vincent Barnes

I was 17 years old and wanted to do more than just play sports and go to school.  I wanted to see outside of Houston, TX.  Being that I grew up around military folks, I decided to be the sixth generation to join the military.

I joined the Navy first.  I had amazing experiences with different people.  I traveled to Ireland,  South America, the Atlantic, both Arctics, and got to see spots that I never thought I would see, like the pyramids in Egypt and the Nile. It was about the water.  It was about people.  I was trying to be active in it.

With today’s economy, I’ve been homeless.  I’ve also been unemployed for a short period of time.  I’m a workaholic, so I will go out there and find work.  If not, I will make up a job for myself for someone who needs me. You’re in one of the richest countries in the world, but you still see poverty.  You still see people struggling.  You still see families on the streets.

The time that I was homeless and still working, I was like “Wow, this is so strange.”  I never questioned my faith.  I never questioned God.  But I did question how I looked to people.

After connecting with Goodwill Industries of Houston, I heard my coworkers  say as I was just getting into the program or learning how to operate things that I was either too quiet or too nice, which I laugh about.  I can be too nice all day long because I’m blessed.  And I don’t mind that.  That part about me will never change.

This Goodwill Job Connections program is a blessing, it really is. It has helped so many different people out in so many different situations. It’s a life‑changing experience. You get to start all over. It’s hard to imagine that anyone would have such a big heart or that a program out here in the United States would exist.

They have a saying in the Navy when you go through boot camp:  learn by brain or learn by pain.  Observe everything.  Study all things that you are able to and come to an understanding.  If you cannot come to an understanding, get help.  Maybe that person with more wisdom can show you the way.