Texas Man Builds Career at Goodwill® After Recovering from Addiction

Rockville, MD. — Goodwill Industries International recently named Richard Lopez its 2010 Achiever of the Year for overcoming addiction and building a strong career at Goodwill.
Lopez started doing drugs when he was 12 years old. At 17, he was selling drugs and addicted to alcohol. When he was 36, Lopez and his wife, who also had an alcohol addiction, made the choice to get sober together. They wanted to be better parents to their young children, and they supported each other as they worked toward their shared goal.

Richard Lopez, 2010 Achiever of the Year
Richard Lopez, GII's 2010 Achiever of the Year

As Lopez tried to rebuild his life, he found that keeping a job was his biggest challenge. He struggled through 16 different positions in four years. Then he found a job as a mailroom clerk in Goodwill Industries® of Central Texas’s commercial services division. Within four months he was promoted, and soon served as a mentor for new employees — helping them learn new skills.  After several years of hard work, he was promoted again to become the Goodwill’s contracts supervisor in charge of managing two state contracts.
Lopez believes that his four children and 13 grandchildren would have had different lives if he had not found Goodwill. When his daughter nearly dropped out of school and a son became involved with drugs, Lopez helped both of them make better decisions based on his own experiences. His hard work also allowed Lopez to buy his first home. In addition, Goodwill staff encouraged him to take college courses — and he urged his kids to do the same.
“Goodwill brought out the best in me and had so much to do with my success,” said Lopez. “As I was learning that education and knowledge would improve my life, I wanted to help my kids improve their lives, so I passed that on to them.”
In his current position as contracts supervisor, Lopez coordinates the shipping, scanning and billing of about 600 specialty license plates daily for the Texas Department of Transportation. He trains new staff and manages mail and customer billing for the Disability Determination Services mailroom. He also took the initiative to secure a state contract for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
“Goodwill gave Richard the career support he needed, but he is the true architect of his success,” said Jim Gibbons, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. “His determination to succeed at work and his commitment to his family are qualities that we can all admire.”
Goodwill Industries International’s Achiever of the Year is a person who has shown great progress and accomplishment in overcoming obstacles to employment, and who still benefits from the Goodwill work environment or receives services to support employment at a community site.