By: Duane Blankenship | Category: Other | Issue: June 2014
Award winners at the 2013 Goodwill Awards Luncheon included Abigail Abate, Kelsey O’Halloran, Kyler Patrick, and Securitas Security Services, represented by Patricia Young and Hanna Al-Nahhasa.
Goodwill Industries of Tulsa provides work opportunities, job training and support services for people with disabilities or other barriers to employment and envisions a community where all people have the training and opportunities they need to be successful in the workplace. Goodwill President David Oliver said, “We strive to meet the highest standards of ethics and accountability while treating all people with dignity and respect.” The organization embraces diversity in the individuals they serve, the programs they offer and among the workforce that makes up the Goodwill organization. “We provide services that help people help themselves,” added Oliver.
On May 6, 2014, Goodwill celebrated the 2013 accomplishments at the annual Awards Luncheon. Over 650 employees, clients, board members, community leaders and other business partners and friends of Goodwill joined in the celebration at Southern Hills Marriott Hotel. Award presentations were made by Kristin Dickerson, evening news anchor, KTUL.
Kelsey O’Halloran received the Employee of the Year Award. Kelsey is a donation attendant at the 38th and Harvard location. She greets donors with a wonderful smile, helps take donations into the work site, and is always willing to lend a helping hand and offer a kind word. Kelsey has been a guest speaker at National Conference Sessions for the Williams Syndrome Association, was nominated Oklahoma Special Olympics “Athlete of the Year” and lit the torch at the Opening Ceremonies. Kelsey was also an ambassador for Oklahoma Special Olympics and served on the local chapter of Tulsa People First.
Abigail Abate was recognized as Achiever of the Year. Before moving to Tulsa, she developed a school district tutoring program in Kansas, where she was responsible for 175 volunteers who were matched with students. Everything changed when Abigail had a brain aneurysm that left her with lasting residual effects that she now deals with on a daily basis. Abigail was led to Goodwill’s Job Connection program in 2013. There she was referred to the Goodwill TulsaWORKS job training program, where she participated in multiple skill training classes. She was especially drawn to the Private Security Program, because both of her sons are in law enforcement and she was intrigued with the field of criminal justice. With her good work ethic and outstanding attitude, Abigail completed her training and in 2013 she achieved her goal by completing an application for G4S Security Company. She was hired soon thereafter and works as a security officer at the Citiplex Towers in Tulsa.
The 2013 Graduate of the Year Award winner is Kyler Patrick, who began his association with Goodwill as a high school senior in Owasso, where he was a student in Goodwill’s Transitional Work Adjustment Program. He learned what employers expected in the workplace, how to take instruction and how to behave on the job. Kyler also received valuable work experience in a Goodwill retail store and learned how to interact with customers. In 2013, Kyler was referred to Goodwill’s Supported Employment Program to discover his work interests and skills. Ultimately, he applied for work at Mazzio’s Italian Eatery in Owasso, where the manager and staff were charmed and confident Kyler could play a role in their establishment. The position of “personality” was created specifically for Kyler, and he now busses and cleans tables, keeps the dining room clean, and uses his charming personality to provide exemplary customer service.
Thank you, Tulsa, for helping individuals who have overcome considerable challenges to meet their goals.
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Blankenship graduated from the University of Oklahoma and has enjoyed a lifetime career in advertising. He started his own advertising business in 1993 and enjoys creating graphic art and writing. Hobbies include hunting, fishing and pencil drawings. Duane and his wife, Janice, have been married over 50 years and are active in their church and community. He has been a contributing writer for Value News/Values Magazine since 2005.