#MissionMonday - Joseph

Every Monday, we'll be posting a new story of how our mission has assisted people in the community. Be sure to check back each week for a new and inspirational story of someone who was helped by Goodwill Manasota. Changing lives through the power of work...it's what we do.

#MissionMonday - JosephMy name is Joseph and I am 86 years young. I have been married to the same wonderful woman for 65 years. I have 2 sons, 5 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren. I have led a remarkable life.

I went to school to become a mechanical engineer. I was blessed with a job that I loved and that paid me very well. My family never had to worry about paying the bills or where the next meal would come from. Both of my sons went to the college of their choice. After the boys were gone, my wife and I continued to work hard, volunteer and travel. At age 65, I decided to retire and move from the cold northeast to sunny Florida. My wife and I settled in and started playing golf and fishing almost every day. We entertained and shopped a lot.

But eventually our life went from being full and rewarding to being dull and repetitive. You can only play so much golf, you know. We always thought retirement would bring us joy and a satisfactory close to our lives. As time went on, my wife became ill and needed care. We were quickly depleting our retirement savings so I became her housekeeper, chauffeur, cook and companion. I drove her to her doctor’s appointments-- of which there were many-- and I had a lot of time to kill while waiting for her.

One day while I was waiting, I wandered into the Goodwill store next to the hospital. This became my regular hangout and I met many of the employees including the manager at that time. When my wife and I needed to purchase a replacement television set, I searched the shelves at Goodwill. I mentioned to the manager different ways to display some of his goods and he asked me if I wanted a job. I had never thought about working again but after I left the store that day, I thought of nothing else-- and we could definitely use the income.

I went back in the next day and asked the manager if he was serious about employing a man of my age. I was excited to begin another chapter of my life. Upon employment I was told about the Good Partner Coach program, a life coach Goodwill offers to all of its employees. My coach has given me referrals on assisted living facilities and in-home care in the area. She also has done research and given me information on Alzheimer’s disease and support groups, and together we searched for prescription assistance; my wife’s medication is very costly. I talk to my coach regularly to let her know about my wife’s condition and how much Goodwill has done for me. Goodwill has given me purpose and put meaning back into my life. Goodwill gave me a hand up when I didn’t even know I needed it.