When Doug and his family lived in Pennsylvania, he was able to work in a sheltered workshop making spindles. He did not earn a lot but he was making some money and he had something to do to fill his time during the day. When the family decided it was too cold for them up north, they moved down to Florida.
There was no sheltered workshop in Englewood so Doug, who uses a wheelchair, spent his days in his driveway waving at cars driving by the house. On colder, rainy days, he would wave from his front porch. When Doug describes that period of his life, he says, “I was just existing.”
Soon after moving to Florida, Doug’s mom got a job at Goodwill Manasota’s Englewood store. She would come home every day and tell Doug what an amazing place Goodwill was to work. She suggested that he apply for a job there, too.
Finally, Doug did exactly that. He entered a job tryout program that Goodwill had just started. Doug became an electrical tester. The first item he plugged in was a lamp. As soon as he plugged it in, all of the lights in the building went out. Doug figured that was the end of his job tryout. Fortunately for Doug, the tripping of circuit breakers was a regular occurrence at that store and the lights came right back on a few seconds later.
After the job tryout ended, Doug went back home and thought that was the end of his Goodwill experience. He went back out to the driveway and resumed waving to his neighbors as they drove by. Not long after, he received a call from a store manager in Englewood asking if he wanted to become a permanent employee. The team needed help tagging clothes and they thought that Doug was the right man for the job.
Doug accepted and was thrilled to have a job. He learned how to tag clothes and he became a pro in no time.
When it was time for the Englewood store to close and move to a new building that was under construction, Doug got a transfer to the Rialto store in Venice. There Doug learned how to price and tag accessories. He was becoming a more valuable employee every day. Doug also started taking the accessories he priced out onto the sales floor.
Doug transferred to the new North Port store when a position opened up so that he could be closer to home. Today you will find him on the job tagging apparel and accessories and bringing them out onto the sales floor so that the store always has a full and fresh inventory.
This month, Doug celebrates 20 years at Goodwill Manasota – he will receive his Milestone Award and a gold badge for this amazing accomplishment. Doug says if it was not for Goodwill, he would still be in his driveway waving at his neighbors as they drove by. Doug says, “Goodwill changed my life completely. I have lifelong friends and a purpose.” He is glad that Goodwill helped him get out of the driveway and into the workplace.
It’s what we do …