Daniel met his future wife at the University of Florida. Soon after getting married, they moved to Japan and Daniel was excited to be able to immerse himself in his wife’s culture. While they were there, Daniel earned a black belt in Tai Kwon Do, cultivated his love for music, and began working on his dream of becoming a photographer.
When the couple moved back to the States, Daniel starting working as an apprentice to a professional photographer. Before long, he decided to start his own business and was soon able to support his growing family, which now included two sons. Daniel was pleased because at the ripe old age of 32, he felt that his life was perfect.
One morning, Daniel’s wife tried to wake him but he was unresponsive. When he finally woke up, he was able to speak, but was not making any sense. He was taken to the hospital where he fell into a coma. The coma last for five months as the doctors tried to determine what was making Daniel was so sick. Eventually he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and soon after, woke from the coma and began treatment. Unfortunately, the stress of his prolonged illness had taken a toll on his marriage and shortly after his treatment began, his wife filed for a divorce. Daniel didn’t blame her. He couldn’t work and was no longer able to support his family. He had to learn how to do EVERYTHING all over again - including walking and feeding himself. He spent six months in an Assisted Living Facility. After his stay there, he moved into his mother’s house, where he still lives today.
Daniel wanted to prove to himself that he could still be a productive member of society so he started volunteering at the Library and the Friendship Center. He also went to a day program to re-learn job skills. He was making progress, but no one would hire him. At the volunteer sites, he didn’t really interact with anyone, and overall, he had no social outlet except for his mother’s friends.
Daniel began attending Vocational Rehabilitation where he was assigned a Job Coach. The Job Coach immediately brought him to Goodwill knowing they would be able to help him get a job. Daniel met with a Team Leader Coach at a Goodwill store. She was impressed with Daniel, which was something he had not experienced since his illness began. The TLC agreed to hire him and Daniel has been at Goodwill for five years now.
Daniel says he is grateful for his job at Goodwill, because he didn’t think anyone would hire him. If he wasn’t working, he says he would be at home doing nothing and would not have any friends or any kind of social life. He has LOTS of friends at Goodwill and he will always be grateful for that. Daniel is thankful that Goodwill saw potential in him when no one else could see it. It’s what we do . . .