An Experience of a Lifetime for Bob

Early in his life Bob proudly served our country for 4 years in the U.S. Navy sailing the east coast. Bob is thankful for his time with the Navy because he was able to “sail the ocean blue.” After his time with the Navy, Bob attended Western Iowa Tech Community College where he studied carpentry.

He received a job in Construction where he worked for a few years before he came to Goodwill in 1977. Bob worked in the production area of Goodwill where he received his first eye-opening experience with Goodwill by learning what Goodwill really does. Bob went back to school and received his English degree with a minor in writing from Briar Cliff University in 2009.

Shortly after Bob saw a job opening at Goodwill in the E-Commerce department, he was hired for the job and has been at Goodwill for 5 years. When asked about what he likes most about Goodwill Bob replied, “I enjoy what I do, and Goodwill is a great place to work. I have made good friends here. Most people just see the Goodwill store but what they don’t realize is that Goodwill is involved in the community by providing jobs to those who have difficulty finding work in the community.”

Bob loves working with the participants in E-Commerce and has learned a lot from working with them.  “It has been an enlightening experience working with the participants and seeing the challenges they face. It leaves me no room to complain, “Bob replied with reflection. Bob participates in chapel where he likes to play his guitar and share his musical gifts.

Brittany’s Self-Esteem Boosted by Goodwill

Growing up in an abusive household was difficult for Brittany. Her step-mom was mean to her and never treated her with the respect she deserved. Brittany knew a change had to be made and she moved out of this toxic environment. Brittany moved in with her mom and step-dad in Royal, Iowa. Her step-dad was a positive influence in her life and he treated her with respect and decency.

A good friend to Brittany referred her to Goodwill. Before she came to Goodwill, Brittany hated her life and didn’t see any purpose. When she started Goodwill, she saw a purpose that was right in front of her. “They made me feel really comfortable. I was really nervous but as I was trained in different areas throughout the day I began to feel calm,” Brittany said. “They were encouraging me by telling me I was doing a great job.”

Brittany has grown significantly as a person since she has been with Goodwill. She has been coming out of her comfort zone and becoming more social with the people at work. Goodwill is Brittany’s home away from home. “I have made some really good friends here. They have given me enough confidence to apply for the Team Lead position,” Brittany stated while smiling Brittany will be promoted to Team Lead and this is a huge step for her. “Goodwill is more than just getting rid of your old stuff and hanging clothes. Every dollar goes back towards the mission and Goodwill is more than just shopping,” Brittany states with a confidence in her tone.

A Compassionate Heart for Others

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”- Aesop

A few years ago, Loren came back to the town of Mitchell with only $20 in his pocket. He didn’t know where to go or what to do. The generosity of the Mitchell community helped Loren get back on his feet.

Loren received a clothing voucher from Goodwill but didn’t know what Goodwill was about or what they do. One of the Goodwill employees recommended that he apply for the Job Center position since most of his life he worked with people and created relationships with them in a few car dealerships in town.

Loren was hired and found his purpose working in the Job Center. “I was trying to give back to what the community did for me and through Goodwill, I can do that”, Loren said with a smile on his face. “These people that I didn’t realize I had made much of an impact in their lives helped me get a job.”

One of the individuals that came into the Job Center was Carol. She was struggling to get an interview at a local college’s human resources department. Loren was determined to help her get the interview and Loren made a few calls to make sure that she would get an interview. She had an interview the next day because of Loren’s help. In 2012, Loren received an award from Goodwill for the outstanding work he was doing.

Loren started out in the retail store when he was working in the Job Center and has moved up to Team Lead and to his current position as Assistant Manager.  Loren loves helping people and this is one of the reasons he continues to work in the Goodwill retail store. He knows he is making a difference in people’s lives. Loren’s compassionate heart has made an impact on not just the Mitchell community but the Goodwill community.

LaDonna’s Memorable Experiences at Goodwill

This is a follow-up to the story, “LaDonna’s Potential Realized Through Goodwill” published on January 25, 2019. If you would like to read this story visit the link: https://www.goodwillgreatplains.org/ladonnas-potential-realized-through-goodwill/

LaDonna wasn’t expecting to receive an award at the Employee Connectivity Retreat this year. Her face in tears as she was accepting this award says it all. “It felt good to know the people I work with really appreciate me,” Ladonna said while smiling. “As a manager, I want to help people grow and to see my team sees this is a reward enough.”

LaDonna will be retiring at the end of this year and she is reflecting on the time that she has had with Goodwill. “When I came to Goodwill I knew nobody but as time went on I got to know names and I give people hugs now. I tell my co-workers they are family. I spend more time with them then I do my own husband,” LaDonna said while laughing. Goodwill has been a special place for LaDonna because she has learned leadership skills that have inspired her employees. “The one thing I can’t express enough is Goodwill giving me this chance. When I first started I was unsure of myself and Tami kept encouraging me saying, ‘You can do it’. If it wasn’t for Goodwill giving me a chance I wouldn’t have been able to experience what I do now,” LaDonna stated with reflection.

The plans that LaDonna has after she retires from Goodwill is to travel and spend time with family. LaDonna states with excitement, “It’s important for me to spend time with my family. I have a daughter in California and 2 brothers in Arizona. I want to spend as much time as I can with them.” Some of the places that LaDonna wants to travel to is Niagara Falls and the Redwood Forrest. LaDonna is excited about the next chapter in her life and we wish her all the best for the future. 

A Mentor for Life at Goodwill

Three years ago Amanda was in a dark, lonely place in her life. She was struggling to barely live paycheck to paycheck. Working 2-3 jobs making minimum wage while battling depression and anxiety which caused her doubt herself and who she was. Amanda knew that a change was not only needed but necessary. “I wanted to provide for my daughter. I needed something better,” Amanda said. “I needed stability.”

Loree, Store Manager, at the Fort Dodge encouraged Amanda to apply for an open position when she was visiting the store on a shopping trip. Amanda had hesitations about working at Goodwill because of the fast-paced environment of the backroom. She really didn’t know if she could handle it. Despite these hesitations, Amanda took a chance, applied for the job and was hired. “When I first started I was really quiet,” she said. “It was rough my first year.”

What Amanda didn’t realize was that Loree would be the friend and mentor that she needed at this point in her life. “Loree sets the tone here. You can go to Loree about anything. No matter what’s on her mind, she makes time for you,” Amanda stated with assurance. To Amanda, Loree is the mentor that is not afraid of challenging you to help you see the potential in yourself. “She genuinely cares about each and every one of her employees.”

Amanda has made significant progress since she has been with Goodwill which includes being promoted to Team Lead. Amanda admits she is starting to figure out who she is but is not as stressed out as she was three years ago, and her mental health is in a better place. “Looking back on it now. I have been through a lot. I had to work several jobs where I hardly saw my daughter and struggled with mental health, but I am working on it and I believe everything will come together.”