Texas Man Builds Career at Goodwill After Recovering From Addiction - Richard Lopez Named Goodwill's 2010 Achiever of the Year.
Goodwill Industries International recently named Richard Lopez its 2010 Achiever of the Year for overcoming addiction and building a strong career at Goodwill®.
Lopez started doing drugs when he was 12 years old. At 17, he was selling drugs and addicted to alcohol. When he was 36, Lopez and his wife, who also had an alcohol addiction, made the choice to get sober together. They wanted to be better parents to their young children, and they supported each other as they worked toward their shared goal.
As Lopez tried to rebuild his life, he found that keeping a job was his biggest challenge. He struggled through 16 different positions in four years. Then he found a job as a mail-room clerk in Goodwill Industries of Central Texas's commercial services division. Within four months he was promoted, and soon served as a mentor for new employees "helping them learn new skills. After several years of hard work, he was promoted again to become the Goodwill's mail-room supervisor in charge of managing two state contracts.
Lopez believes that his four children and 13 grandchildren would have had different lives if he had not found Goodwill. When his daughter nearly dropped out of school and a son became involved with drugs, Lopez helped both of them make better decisions based on his own experiences. His hard work also allowed Lopez to buy his first home. In addition, Goodwill staff encouraged him to take college courses "and he urged his kids to do the same.
"Goodwill brought out the best in me and had so much to do with my success," said Lopez. "As I was learning that education and knowledge would improve my life, I wanted to help my kids improve their lives, so I passed that on to them."
In his current position as mail-room supervisor, Lopez coordinates the shipping, scanning and billing of about 600 specialty license plates daily for the Texas Department of Transportation. He trains new staff and manages mail and customer billing for the Disability Determination Services mail-room. He also took the initiative to secure a state contract for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
"Goodwill gave Richard the career support he needed, but he is the true architect of his success," said Jim Gibbons, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. "His determination to succeed at work and his commitment to his family are qualities that we can all admire."
Goodwill Industries International's Achiever of the Year is a person who has shown great progress and accomplishment in overcoming obstacles to employment, and who still benefits from the Goodwill work environment or receives services to support employment at a community site.
Goodwill Industries International is a network of 180 community-based, independent agencies in the United States, Canada, and 13 other countries. Goodwill is one of the nation's top five most valuable and recognized nonprofit brands as well as a leading social services enterprise (Source: Cone Nonprofit Power Brand 100, 2009). Goodwill agencies are innovative and sustainable social enterprises that fund job training programs, employment placement services and other community-based programs by selling donated clothing and household items in more than 2,400 retail stores and online at shopgoodwill.com. Local Goodwill agencies also build revenue and create jobs by contracting with businesses and government to provide a wide range of commercial services, including packaging and assembly, food service preparation, and document imaging and shredding. In 2009, nearly 2 million people in the United States and Canada benefited from Goodwill's career services. Goodwill channels 83 percent of its revenues directly into its programs and services. To find your local Goodwill, use the online locator at www.goodwill.org or call (800) 741-0186.
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