#MissionMonday - Victor

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 - Victor Victor was raised in a Communist country, where he was told what to wear, what to eat, where to live and how to think. Both he and his family endured major hardships throughout their lives there, including going to bed hungry more times than he can remember.

Victor was educated in his home country and received a degree in Microbiology. He studied what he was told to study and worked on the projects he was told to work on. Victor was a hard worker and tried to provide for his family but his wages were also dictated by the government. Victor made the equivalent of roughly $13.00 per month with a family of four to support.

Victor was determined to change his life and the lives of his loved ones. In his country he was not allowed to attend church but his faith was strong and very important to him. Often he would sneak into church and pray for a brighter future.

Every year Victor applied for the visa lottery drawing hoping to be able to move his family to the United States. He would save whatever he could to put toward the trip if they were lucky enough to be drawn. After years of disappointment, Victor suspected that the government might not be sending his applications to the American Embassy since the projects he worked on were very important. In 1998, he sent his application with a trusted friend traveling to a different part of the country whom he knew would submit the application on his behalf. On the bottom of the application Victor wrote, "In God We Trust," because he knew that that was a very important saying in the United States and he had put his trust in God.

Victor went on with his life and at the end of 1998 the government announced that they would not be participating in any more visa lotteries. Victor was devastated but he continued to believe that God would provide. He continued to work, sneak in to church, and save every penny that he could. In 2005, Victor received word that his application had been approved in that very last drawing. Victor rejoiced and thanked God. He immediately went and paid for four passports, obtained a medical exam for each person in his family, purchased four government authorization forms and started working on airfare. Victor was so happy that he could hardly sleep at night.

Victor and his family arrived in Miami, Florida in 2006. They stayed there for a few months and then moved to Kentucky. In Kentucky, the jobs were scarce and the weather was severe, so Victor contacted his cousin, Gustavo, who lived in Sarasota, Florida. Gustavo encouraged the family to come and stay with him. He told Victor that a new Goodwill store was opening just down the street from his house and he thought that Victor might be able to get a job there.

Upon arrival in Sarasota, Victor and his wife both applied for jobs at that new Goodwill and were both hired immediately. They were each assigned a GoodPartner Coach who helped them set goals for their future. The first goal they set was a home of their own - something they would never have been able to achieve in their former country. Their GPC helped them apply for a Habitat house which they still live in today. Their Coach helped them complete the paperwork to participate in Goodwill's 401K program and open a savings account to save for furnishings for their home - all so they could become healthy, happy, productive individuals.

Victor became a U.S. citizen in 2011 and a certified Goodwill Role Model Worker in 2012. Victor and his family have been in the United States for eleven years and to this day Victor still thanks God daily for the way his life has changed and how Goodwill has helped him.

It's what we do...