By: Duane Blankenship | Category: Consumer News | Issue: June 2012
Goodwill’s 2011 award winners included Brian Faust, Samuel Littles, and Jonathan Shacklett, shown with KTUL evening news anchor Mark Bradshaw (second from right).
Goodwill Industries of Tulsa has changed a lot over the past 85 years; headquarters have grown, as have their services. Goodwill reaches out with new programs and services, training facilities, and retail stores. But Goodwill’s mission has not changed in 85 years: they continue to promote and make possible for every individual the dignity and self-sufficiency that comes with employment. It all boils down to people working, lives improved.
In 2011, Goodwill gave back to our community more than $79 million in economic and fiscal benefit. According to David Oliver, Goodwill president, “In 2012, we’ll continue to expand our services to individuals who need employment and companies who need workers.”
On May 1, 2012, locals celebrated Goodwill’s 2011 award winners at their annual luncheon at the Southern Hills Marriott. Opening remarks and recognition of luncheon sponsors was made by Mark Bradshaw, evening news anchor of KTUL. Awards were presented by Goodwill’s Sabrina Ware and David Oliver.
Community Partner honors went to Tulsa Transit. Presenter Sabrina Ware said they have been a great partner with Goodwill by hiring graduates that were prepared for working at Tulsa Transit, taking students on tours, and participating in mock interviews performed with students. Tulsa Transit has been sensitive to the transportation needs of Goodwill and what is important to the organization and students.
Achiever of the Year was awarded to Samuel Littles. From early in life, Samuel faced huge obstacles. He wasn’t diagnosed with a displaced hip until age 17. His mother died, and Samuel began treating his medical condition with alcohol. After entering Goodwill’s TulsaWORKS program in 2002, Sam still couldn’t hold down a job, mostly because of his drinking. He lost his sister and only remaining family member in 2011, but didn’t turn to alcohol. He continued his hard-fought journey to sobriety and has now been sober for more than a year. In August, 2011, Samuel was hired by Sam’s Club in Tulsa Hills, where he continues to work today. He is providing for himself and says, “It’s a pleasure working and winning as a team.” Sam has discovered the glory of rising after a fall.
Jonathan Shacklett was honored as Employee of the Year and loves his job at the 38th and Harvard Goodwill Donation Center. Jon was born with Prader-Willi Syndrome, a complex genetic disorder that causes chronic hunger, rigid stubbornness, and other physical and intellectual limitations. It took a special job environment to allow Jon to succeed at work. Today, Jon helps new hires at the center learn their jobs and keeps his group on task. He has an ability to motivate others, a great sense of humor, and helps keep the work environment positive and fun, noted his job coach. Jon’s parents are proud of his hard work, which has given him the opportunity to earn a paycheck and live independently and provide for himself and his cats. Jon is a willing and able contributor to the Tulsa working community.
Graduate of the Year honors went to Brian Faust. Brian came to Goodwill the summer of 2009 for transitional work adjustment training while getting ready for his senior year of high school. He needed to learn how to conduct himself at work. Doing everything he was asked to do, he still goofed around during work time. His program instructor helped Brian understand that “horseplay” was not appropriate in the workplace. In 2011, he started in the supported employment program and landed a lot attendant position at Home Depot. He now stays on task, has developed appropriate workplace relationships, loads customer orders, collects shopping carts, and helps stock lawn and garden supplies. He provides the high level of customer service his employer expects and has a bright future ahead of him.
Congratulations to all the Goodwill award recipients!
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.