SARASOTA/BRADENTON, FL – For Goodwill Manasota team member Bryant Taylor and his son, Drew, giving back is truly a family affair. While they do it because they choose to and because it feels right, years of charitable behavior have resulted in major recognition for Drew: at Goodwill's recent Ambassador Recognition Luncheon, he was honored with the prestigious Presidential Volunteer Service Award, acknowledging his time and efforts to help others.
Drew, 17, is a junior at Sarasota Military Academy; he has numerous relatives who have served or do serve in the Armed Forces and he is proud to continue that tradition. His goal is to attend ROTC at a service academy or college and then earn his commission in the Marine Corps. Down the road, his dream is to work at the Department of Defense and continue his service to our country.
This enterprising young man has been generous with his donations of time to help others. He has volunteered for events such as the Stand Down for Veterans program, which assists veterans who are homeless or otherwise in need, and the Pearl Harbor Memorial Dinner, a past partnership of Goodwill Manasota and The Law Place. He has volunteered for Wreaths Across America, a nationwide effort to places wreaths on the graves of fallen soldiers around the holidays and held food drives at area stores. Last year, Drew coordinated a paid "dress down day," during which students who donated to his cause - Goodwill's Veterans Services Program - were released from having to wear their normal uniform on that day.
"It's our responsibility to give back to veterans to honor them for what they've done for us," Drew said. "My father has told me what Goodwill does for veterans - I am happy that I have been able to help support Goodwill's efforts."
Currently, Drew is an intern for U.S. Representative Vern Buchanan - he works at the front desk, answering phone calls, sorting letters and assigning people to write or meet the Congressman or his field officer.
The apple hasn't fallen far from the tree: Bryant Taylor, who has worked for Goodwill for more than four years, has made certain his children have understood the importance of paying it forward.
"My wife and I know what it’s like to grow up with less than others," Bryant said. "I want to show my kids that volunteering in the community is the best way to give back. There are people and organizations who rely on people from all walks of life to be ambassadors and mentors to help them achieve and foster success."
For Bryant, giving back was also ingrained at a young age. His earliest memory of charitable behavior was his grandmother at their local church in West Virginia; he remembers visits to All Faiths Food Bank with his mother as a teen.
"As an organization committed to helping individuals with barriers to employment each and every day, we at Goodwill are thankful for those in the community who are invested in improving the lives and futures of others,” said Goodwill Manasota vice president Veronica Brandon Miller. "On behalf of those we serve, I thank Taylor for his efforts and congratulate Bryant for his successful efforts to encourage charitable behavior in the next generation."
For more information about Goodwill, call (941) 355-2721 or go to experiencegoodwill.org.
PHOTO ID: (From l-r) Bryant Taylor, Drew Taylor, Goodwill Manasota president and CEO Bob Rosinsky, and vice president Veronica Brandon Miller during a 2016 holiday event
About Goodwill Manasota
Goodwill Manasota is an industry-leading, 501(c)(3), not-for-profit organization that changes lives through the power of work. With the sales of donated goods and philanthropic donations, Goodwill is able to assist people with disabilities and other barriers to employment by providing job skills training and employment opportunities. In 2016, Goodwill Manasota served 28,207 people, placed 755 people in jobs and assisted 240 veterans as they reintegrated back into the civilian workforce. Goodwill Manasota’s economic impact back to the community is worth $92.1 million. Goodwill is one of the pioneers of the reduce-reuse-recycle movement and this past year diverted more than 40 million pounds out of the landfill. We accomplish our mission through a network of Good Neighbor Centers in Sarasota, Manatee, Hardee and DeSoto counties and our Mission Development Services (MDS) around North America. Goodwill Manasota is accountable to a local Board of Directors. Goodwill Manasota, in essence, belongs to this community and is not owned by any individual or company. For more information, visit www.experiencegoodwill.org.