Story Behind the Stores: Cory “lost everything,” but Goodwill helps him feel “reborn”

When you walk into our stores and interact with our employees, you see friendly faces, smiling underneath their masks. What you don’t see are the stories behind those friendly faces.

If you’re dropping off donations at the Shively location in Louisville, Cory will likely be there to welcome you and thank you for supporting our mission as you leave. He’s a constant source of positivity for his coworkers, too.

His life hasn’t always been positive, though.

Cory’s arms are spotted with tattoos of his life journeys. One includes a quote: “If heaven wasn’t so far away.” It’s a symbol of remembrance for his late wife, who was hit by a vehicle and killed in front of him in January.

As a result, Cory “lost everything.” At the time of this writing, he was in a recovery home while working at the Shively location, where he began in February.

Through our Soft Skills Academy, Reintegrating Individuals Every Day (RISE) program and other opportunities, he said he feels “reborn.”

“They taught me a lot on just how to live again,” he said, “attitude, dependability, things that are crucial in the workforce.”

Cory said he’s received support via counseling as well, with help from his career coaches, Charlie Bell and Melvin Robards. Melvin is even helping him get management certified.

“They care a lot,” Cory said. “You don’t find that places. You just don’t.”

Because of his positive work environment, Cory actually turned down a higher-paying truck driving position in order to remain at Goodwill out of the love he has for his team.

“I kind of feel like I owe them,” he said. “I feel like I owe it to them to stick around for a while and see it through. Because it’s like the only place that will work with your schedule, because I have AA meetings at night. And they really do care about the employee more than the work.”

One of Cory’s first days on the job stuck out most when he was reminiscing. He met a woman in the donation drive-thru who had just lost her husband and was donating all his clothes.

He said he was able to relate to her and had a meaningful conversation with her. He said it’s moments like those that make his job special – when he can help others just like he’s been helped.

“I know what she was going through,” he said, “and that kind of helped me too, knowing I could help someone else.”

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