SARASOTA, FL – On March 26, the National Association of Social Workers Florida Chapter (NASW-FL), Sarasota/Manatee Unit recognized Goodwill Manasota’s director of Veterans Services, C.J. Bannister, as its 2018 Public Citizen of the Year. The award, which was presented during NASW-FL’s annual awards dinner at Libby’s Café, honored Bannister for her tireless work on behalf of veterans in our community.
Founded in 1955, NASW is the largest professional social work organization in the United States. Each year, the local chapter bestows the Public Citizen of the Year Award upon an outstanding member of the community whose accomplishments epitomize the values and mission of professional social work. To be eligible for the award, the recipient must make a significant contribution to a population of concern to the social work profession. Additionally, the recipient must act with courage, demonstrate outstanding leadership, and exemplify social work values and ethics.
Bannister, who is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, was hired in September 2014 by Goodwill to lead its efforts on behalf of area veterans. While overseeing the organization’s Veterans Services Program, she has helped to lower or eliminate barriers to employment and provide opportunities for higher-paying positions for veterans and their families. Additionally, she works to connect veterans with crucial social services, helping them reintegrate into their families, communities and jobs.
“C.J. Bannister is a wonderful example of a veteran who has taken every opportunity to positively benefit her community through her personal and career involvements. We are so proud of her for earning this honor,” said Bob Rosinsky, president and CEO of Goodwill Manasota. “The brave men and women who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces and their families make enormous sacrifices, both during and after their service to our nation. Goodwill works every day to honor our returning heroes through the Veterans Services Program and C.J. has shown herself to be wholeheartedly committed to this effort.”
Prior to working at Goodwill, Bannister served as a Goodwill Ambassador – a community volunteer who supports the work of the nonprofit organization – and also served on Goodwill’s Board of Directors. She continues to serve on the Veteran’s Task Force and assists numerous veterans’ organizations throughout the community. She is dedicated to helping others and passionate about giving back, especially to our nation’s veterans.
In 2015, Bannister was named the John H. McLain Woman Veteran of the Year by the Sarasota County Veterans Commission. In 2017, she was honored by JFCS of the Suncoast during its 5th annual Tribute to Veterans Service to Community Awards Luncheon.
For more about Goodwill’s Veterans Services Program, go to experiencegoodwill.org or call (941) 355-2721, ext. 451.
PHOTO ID: Teresa Johnson, chair of NASW Florida, Sarasota/Manatee Unit (left) and C.J. Bannister, Goodwill Manasota’s director of the Veterans Services Program
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 2017, Goodwill Manasota served 11,672 people, placed 555 people in jobs, assisted 360 veterans as they reintegrated back into the civilian workforce, and provided 19,540 hours of on-the-clock training for its employees. 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 41 million pounds out of the landfill. 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.