Nebraska Man Defined by His Independence, Determination and Courage

Goodwill Industries International Names Steve Hennessey its 2015 Achiever of the Year 

OMAHA, NE — Steve Hennessey says his job at Goodwill® keeps him “out of trouble” and prevents him from getting bored. Those who know him see his situation a little differently, praising him for his dedication, infectious smile and pleasant personality. In short, Hennessey is an inspiration to those around him, and, for that reason, Goodwill Industries International is pleased to honor him as the recipient of its 2015 Achiever of the Year award.
As an infant, Hennessey’s father was killed and his mother suffered a nervous breakdown. His siblings were put up for adoption, but Hennessey was placed in a home for people with intellectual disabilities. At age 7, he began competing in the Special Olympics, and he continued to participate with tremendous success over the course of the next 25 years.
When he turned 18, Hennessey moved to an assisted-living facility in Lincoln, NE. Soon after, he earned a job at Goodwill’s outbound work site at the Denney Federal Building in Lincoln, where he has worked in custodial services ever since.
In his nomination, Frank McGree, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries Serving Eastern Nebraska & Southwest Iowa, praised Hennessey for his independence, determination, dedication and courage. “Steve walks a mile to work and another mile home, five days a week,” wrote McGree. “He clocks in at 6:00 a.m. on the dot. Never late. Never too early. Rain or snow, Steve is there.”
“My paycheck is important to me so I can pay rent and not live on the street,” Hennessey said. “I don’t have to be on welfare. I would not like that. I want to work a long time.”
Hennessey will be honored with the 2015 Achiever of the Year Award at Goodwill Industries International’s Delegate Assembly conference in late June.
“Challenges to employment don’t exist in Steve’s world,” said Jim Gibbons, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. “He demonstrates that meaningful work is something everyone deserves. He is an inspiration to us all.”
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.
About Goodwill Industries International
Goodwill Industries International is a network of 165 community-based agencies in the United States and Canada with a presence in 14 other countries. Goodwill is one of America’s top 20 most inspiring companies (Forbes, 2014). Goodwill agencies are innovative and sustainable social enterprises that fund job placement programs and other community-based services by selling donated clothing and household items in more than 3,000 stores and online at® Local Goodwill agencies also build revenue and create jobs by contracting with businesses and government to provide a wide range of commercial services, including packaging and assembly, food services preparation, and document imaging and shredding. In 2013, more than 9.8 million people in the United States and Canada benefited from Goodwill’s career services. To learn more, visit
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