Each year, Goodwill Industries of Northwest North Carolina holds its annual Recognition Banquet to highlight accomplishments resulting from teamwork, partnerships, volunteers and supporters. Goodwill held its banquet on Thursday, Nov. 8, at Bridger Field House in Winston-Salem.
The banquet recognizes contributions of participants in Goodwill’s career services programs; Goodwill employees; Goodwill Business Advisory Council members; corporate partners; and the many nonprofit agencies and community organizations that help us carry out our mission.
The event included a keynote address by U.S. Army Master Sergeant Cedric King (retired). King entered the United States Army in 1995. During a career that took him from an infantry private to a position of leadership in the elite Rangers, King graduated from a number of distinguished Army schools. He is the recipient of the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart and the Meritorious Service Medal, and is a four-time Best Ranger Competition participant.
On July 25, 2012, during his third tour in Afghanistan, King was severely injured by an improvised explosive device. Since his injury, King has run marathons, climbed mountains and earned numerous awards as a motivational speaker.
“Great things are sometimes the toughest things that will ever happen in your life,” King said in his remarks. “Your power lies in getting back on your feet again, and again, and again.”
Goodwill recognized Dr. Alan Murdock, who is completing a two-year term as Board Chair. Dr. Murdock is vice president of economic and workforce development at Forsyth Tech. He joined the Goodwill Board of Directors in 2012 and has served on the Workforce Development, Finance and Executive Committees.
The highlight of the Recognition Banquet is the presentation of the Graduate of the Year and Achiever of the Year awards, which are presented to individuals who’ve participated in Goodwill’s career services programs.
The Graduate of the Year Award honors an outstanding person with a disability or disadvantaging condition who has completed a Goodwill career services program and gone on to demonstrate outstanding achievement by attaining and maintaining successful employment in the community.
The 2018 Graduate of the Year is Casey Schading, who participated in the Abilities Services Program at Goodwill’s Conover Workforce Development Center. She is currently a teacher at the Hickory Foundation YMCA Child Development Center. Click here to watch Casey’s story.
The Achiever of the Year award is presented to an outstanding individual who has overcome personal obstacles and achieved success in the workplace. The recipient must have demonstrated significant personal and vocational development, and worked at Goodwill for at least one year.
The 2018 Achiever of the Year is Michelle Bulla, a U.S. Coast Guard veteran who was referred to Goodwill’s Lexington Career Connections Center through the Davidson County Work First program. Today, Michelle is an employment specialist with Goodwill Veterans Services in Winston-Salem, assisting other veterans with job training, coaching and other career services. Click here to watch Michelle’s story.
Additionally, Goodwill presented awards to employees, community partners and donors:
Presented to Goodwill employees who demonstrate Goodwill’s corporate values through outstanding performance, integrity, teamwork and service to Goodwill’s mission.
- Isabel Cabrera, Goodwill Retail Store Lead Associate (King store)
- Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program providers Lucy Her, Amanda Thao, Richard Hensley, Kelli Payne and Mary Patton – Conover
- Jamie Rodriguez, Bilingual Career Connections Specialist (Career Connections Center, Peters Creek Parkway – Winston-Salem)
- Carroll McSpadden, Goodwill Retail Associate (University Parkway store – Winston-Salem)
- Greg Koontz, Director of Facility Services
Donor Partner of the Year Award – Atkinson Elementary School, Hendersonville
Atkinson Elementary School joined Goodwill’s Donate to Educate program in the 2017-18 school year. Their two drives yielded 12,220 pounds of donations, surpassing all other schools in both Buncombe and Henderson counties.
Employer of the Year – Lowes Foods of Bethlehem, N.C.
Lowes Foods provides employment opportunities for people with disabilities. The location in Bethlehem has been extremely supportive of Goodwill’s program participants.
Partner Agency of the Year Award – Surry Community College
By partnering with like-minded organizations, Goodwill is able to pool resources and magnify its impact in the community. Goodwill and Surry Community College partner to provide complementary services to assist job seekers in Surry County. Goodwill’s Career Connections Center in Elkin works closely with the college to offer training and resources, and the college is a partner in the new NCWorks expansion project.
Special Recognition Awards
- Sarah Merrell, for the creative leadership that she has provided for Goodwill’s Color Me Goodwill fashion show in Asheville. Since its inception in 2015, she has recruited designers, models and expert judges. Under her direction, the show has seen substantial growth each year with sell-out crowds in 2017 and 2018. Color Me Goodwill is an important awareness-raiser for Goodwill’s stores and mission. Sarah continues to be an instrumental ambassador for Goodwill in the fashion community.
- Lowe’s Home Improvement, for support and partnership with Goodwill’s Asheville Career Center. Lowe’s redesigned the Community Access Multipurpose Room, which is used by Goodwill participants with disabilities. The result is a beautiful new space that encourages learning, creativity, and can accommodate many different groups at once. Lowe’s generously donated the paint, furniture, countertops, cabinetry, and manpower to redesign and transform this space. Lowe’s also supports Goodwill in many other ways, such as advising on training programs, participating on Goodwill’s Business Advisory Council, and spreading the word about Goodwill’s mission in the Asheville community.