On May 10, 2016 at our Annual Awards Luncheon, we honored our Achiever, Employee, and Graduate of the Year: Jeremiah Ruddle, James “Jimmy” Reese Rainwater and Trenton Swafford. They succeeded in our programs due to their determination and positive spirit. Their success is also due to the support of family, guardians and friends; job coaches and case managers; and partner organizations such as the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services.
Jeremiah was dependent on his family but longed for independence. He had the drive to succeed but lacked the skills and confidence to make that a reality. In January 2015, Jeremiah took a major step toward solving his dilemma: He came to Goodwill and enrolled in TulsaWORKS Career Readiness Training.
Jeremiah completed several classes including Private Security Training, which helped him find a job he truly loves. Taking part in Goodwill’s Savings Match Program, helped Jeremiah buy his first car and work towards achieving his other goal — buying a home.
At the awards luncheon, Jeremiah thanked Goodwill for the honor and hoped his success was making his late grandfather proud.
Read more about Jeremiah, our 2015 Achiever of the Year, in our Annual Report and watch his video.
Jimmy had been through a lot as a child. He was eventually placed into foster care and diagnosed as moderately intellectually disabled resulting from his prior living conditions. KTUL-TV’s “A Waiting Child” segment helped Clara Sue Rainwater and her husband find Jimmy. Later, as an energetic young man, Jimmy found Goodwill, where he has worked for the past 15 years.
Jimmy’s drive to succeed led him to transition to Goodwill’s Group Worksites Program. As a cardboard baler at Hillcrest Hospital, he has found the perfect fit. He loves coming to work with a big smile.
At the awards luncheon, Jimmy said in the spirit of the Special Olympics motto, "I truly hope in all I do or attempt to do in my life I will be brave in the attempt."
Read more about Jimmy, our 2015 Employee of the Year, in our Annual Report and watch his video.
When Trenton was 12, doctors believed he would never walk again due to a benign bone tumor in his right femur. He proved them wrong. Trenton still had to deal with his limited mobility, which made it difficult for him to get to school and make it to class on time. Frustrated, he dropped out in the 11th grade. More challenges came when he was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, which is on the Autism Spectrum.
Although he was living independently, Trenton wanted more. He shared his goals — to earn his GED and get a job — with a counselor at the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services. The counselor, hearing that Trenton had Autism Spectrum Disorder, realized Goodwill would be the perfect fit.
Trenton excelled in Goodwill’s Transition Services Program for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder and the GED Program, a partnership between Goodwill and Union Public Schools Adult Education. He became a role model. He developed a new sense of self-esteem. He demonstrated these characteristics while waiting in the lobby for an interview at Red Lobster. The manager hired him on the spot.
At the awards luncheon, Trenton said he was very appreciative for all the smiles and those "who brought a little bit of joy to my life every single day."
Read more about Trenton, our 2015 Graduate of the Year, in our Annual Report and watch his video.
Goodwill also honored our Community Partner of the Year at the annual Awards Luncheon:
Goodwill understands that career development goes hand in hand with financial wellness. Our partnership with Security Bank has enabled Goodwill to empower program participants with improved financial skills. Security Bank employees volunteered their time to teach and guide participants in Goodwill’s Savings Match Program. These individuals developed valuable savings habits that are already paying dividends.
Goodwill thanks Security Bank for its giving spirit.