Fort Worth Man Views His Disability as Second Chance at Life

Robbie Green Named Goodwill Industries International 2014 Achiever of the Year 

ROCKVILLE, MD — Four years ago, Robbie Green was told his chances at a normal life were over: that he’d not drive, work or live alone again. He didn’t listen. Instead, with support from the Veterans Administration and Goodwill Industries of Fort Worth (TX), he redefined his place in the world. Goodwill Industries International recently named Green its 2014 Achiever of the Year for his efforts to overcome barriers to employment.
Green had been in a barber’s chair getting a haircut when he became dizzy. When he stood up, he fell and hit his head. He woke up in the hospital paralyzed. The nurses at the VA helped him slowly recover some movement in his legs. While the physical recovery was daunting, the veteran underestimated just how difficult the mental recovery would be.
“I was embarrassed,” he said of that time in his life. “To be dependent on other people to provide for you, to pay the bills, it takes a toll on your self-esteem. Being able to work isn’t just about the paycheck.”
The VA hospital referred Green to Goodwill for job training. Skeptical and scared, Green didn’t know how he could learn a new skill. But with the right training and support, Green became proficient at refurbishing computers donated to Goodwill, a job he holds today.
“Circumstances beyond Robbie’s control changed his life irrevocably,” said Jim Gibbons, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. “But he didn’t let his disability define who he was. With Goodwill’s assistance, Robbie re-entered the world of work and is succeeding in all areas of his life.”
Green works at Goodwill three days a week. The other two days, he volunteers at the VA hospital, encouraging other veterans with disabilities and giving them hope that they, too, can achieve their dreams. In his spare time, Green trains for the National Veteran Wheelchair Games, where he’s competed several years. To date, he’s racked up multiple medals including eight gold, eight silver and three bronze.
Green will be honored during Goodwill’s annual Delegate Assembly meeting in Austin, TX, this June. The 2014 Achiever of the Year Award is sponsored by University of Phoenix®.
Goodwill Industries International’s Achiever of the Year is a person who has shown great progress and accomplishment in overcoming challenges to finding employment, and who still benefits from the Goodwill work environment or receives services to support employment at a community site.