By: Duane Blankenship | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: June 2013
Recipients of the 2012 Goodwill Awards include Regina Hawk, Alex Jackson and Sue Massey.
Goodwill Industries of Tulsa has been a good steward of the community resources entrusted to them. More than 380,000 donations were received by Goodwill Donation Centers in the Tulsa area last year, and Goodwill was able to hire, train and place more people with barriers to employment than any time in its 86-year history. Goodwill is proud of the tremendous impact it has on individuals.
Goodwill offers multiple services to area businesses and contracts with local hospitals to provide document shredding, cardboard baling and custodial services. Through these services, participants learn valuable, real-world work skills.
Goodwill also provides job training and placement and retention services for people with disabilities or other barriers to employment. Many earn meaningful jobs that allow them to become self-sufficient, improve their self-esteem and become productive elements in our economy.
Goodwill recognizes outstanding participant accomplishments at an annual Awards Luncheon. Master of Ceremonies for the 2013 event was David Oliver, president, Goodwill Industries of Tulsa. Presentations were emceed by Kristen Dickerson, charming evening news anchor of KTUL.
Graduate of the Year honors went to Alex Jackson. Alex came to Goodwill as a high school student in September of 2010 and was enrolled in Goodwill’s Transition Work Adjustment Training program. Having been diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) he was extremely shy, but was clearly bright, positive and focused. After completing training, Alex participated in the ASD Transition Services pilot program with a curriculum specifically designed to assist in workplace etiquette. He learned to interpret social cues, facial expressions and non-verbal communication while becoming more independent and self-confident. Alex is now employed in a courtesy clerk position with Reasor’s. His employers say he is a model employee with a very positive attitude.
Sue Massey received Employee of the Year honors. In May of 2007, Sue’s case manager recommended that she pursue work opportunities available through Goodwill, feeling she would be a perfect fit for the enclaves – small work groups of supported workers – that Goodwill operates at local hospitals. From the beginning, she showed a willingness to do whatever it took to get her job done and a dedication to do it right, always with a big smile. Sue’s positive attitude and strong work ethic quickly got her a full-time position with Goodwill’s cleaning enclave at St. John Medical Center. There she has learned new tasks and is doing an excellent job. She has a great attitude and is well respected by staff and co-workers.
Achiever of the Year was presented to Regina Hawk. “The Life Skills Class helped change my perspective and I refused to be broken,” said Regina. Regina attended Northeastern Oklahoma A&M and finished her education at Oklahoma State University, earning a bachelor’s degree. When everything seemed to be going perfectly, her world began collapsing. Regina was unable to find a job in her field as an educator, went through a devastating divorce, and found herself frustrated and in financial desperation. She found herself a stay-at-home mom of two, struggling to make it, and was soon homeless and alone. While at the homeless shelter, she noticed a flyer from Goodwill and enrolled in their Life Skills Class. Almost instantly, she discovered a feeling of hope. After only ten weeks, she began interviewing and was able to secure a job as an educator. “Because of the people at Goodwill, I have my life back,” said Regina.
Community Parnter of the Year honors went to Mary Thomas, representing Consumer Credit Counseling of Tulsa. Mary has taught money management courses at Goodwill for 16 years. Thanks to the Tulsa community for their caring attitude and participation in the many Goodwill Industries of Tulsa programs and services.
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.