#MissionMonday - Mark

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.


Mark had always been an independent person, carving his own path of self-employment for many years. He owned vintage stores, selling furnishings and clothing. He produced dozens of events, art shows, runway fashion shows, business mixers, dance and music parties, tiki festivals, and charity auctions. He established a vintage flea market and helped to build a successful furniture manufacturing company from scratch.

Then the unthinkable happened. Mark was diagnosed with Stage IV non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and his prognosis was grim. His family was ready to organize hospice care but Mark had other plans – he was not ready to give up. As some of his friends disappeared, other friends and family came forward with overwhelming support to help him through two years of intensive treatment. Mark survived the debilitating side effects from his cancer treatments and is now cancer-free, with a renewed outlook about the things that make life meaningful.

While the enormous medical bills wiped out everything Mark had, he determinedly began building a new life. A friend offered the use of a comfortable house in Florida to recoup and regroup, an offer Mark gladly accepted. The openness and kindness of the local people enchanted Mark. 

Naturally, his obsession for vintage shopping led him to Goodwill on his first day in Florida. He made the rounds of most of the Manasota retail stores. These Goodwill stores were nicer than any he had ever seen and he decided that day that Goodwill would be a perfect place for him to work – and that Florida would be the perfect place to embark on his new beginning.

Mark walked into the Corporate Campus Job Connection and announced to the support specialist at the front desk that he was coming to work for Goodwill. Mark met with a career development facilitator who connected him with the manager of one of the big box stores. As he had predicted, Mark was hired, and he was pleased to find the same openness and kindness from the Goodwill management and team members as from the other people in the community that he had met.

Mark was amazed to meet his GoodPartner Coach on his first day on the job. Where else can you work and have a coach to help you plan and achieve personal and professional goals while earning a paycheck? Mark could not believe his luck at having all of these people to help him start the second stage of his life.

Each day allows Mark to have enriching conversations with shoppers and to discover many hidden treasures. He knows that the donated goods flowing through the river every day contribute to changing many lives, just like they changed his. 

Goodwill’s mission is changing lives through the power of work – Goodwill team members like Mark proudly wear this mission statement on the back of their vests. It’s what we do …