At the age of 12, my Grandma who raised me died and I had no place to go. Seeing that I was headed for the Boys’ and Girls’ home, a kind lady that Grandma knew adopted me. She was a cook at the Goodwill summer camp; hence I spent my first summer with her at camp. I loved the experience and the people that worked there. I met other children who had unique life situations and it was a very meaningful experience for me.
I attended camp each year after that as a counselor and would pop in to the Goodwill main offices after camp was over and do volunteer typing for them. I also began attending the Church of All Nations, operated by Goodwill, in the poor community known as “the South Side.” These folks were immigrants from all over; they spoke different languages, but all got along great together; it was an eye-opening experience for me as I grew up among them.
I did not live in that area but would take the bus every day after school to Goodwill and participate wherever I was needed. In the midst of that little community was the Goodwill store that served the clothing needs of these wonderful people; some worked in the store and some in the plant sorting clothes for sale. The rest all worked in packing houses. I was adopted into the community and accepted as one of the Goodwill family.
I married, had 5 children of my own, and left Iowa for ten years. Came back in 1971 and got a job working for a company that closed for two weeks at Christmas time. I went to the Goodwill and said, “what can I do for you for two weeks?” I started stuffing envelopes and performing odd jobs. When it came time for me to go back to my job, I did not go. Goodwill hired me, and I have been here ever since. 47 years! And loving EVERY MOMENT of my time here. I feel like this is my family and love everything Goodwill stands for. To me, it was a GOD THING.