Neemiah

The first day I started my job at Goodwill, I knew this was going to be an experience like no other. As I walked through the processing area on the main campus, I was of course, impressed by the volume of work produced, but mostly, I was struck by the joyful spirit that seemed to embody nearly every program participant I met. I was greeted with handshakes, fist bumps, high fives and a hug from Jimmy, a tall quiet man who has worked in processing for more than a decade. The employees were equally friendly but a little more filtered—no hugs on my first day. The whole effect was made complete with an imperfect but beautiful sign that said “Welcome Frank, our New President,” created in a red, white and blue theme that suggested I am the president.

A month later I had the pleasure of hosting our Community Appreciation Breakfast for leaders in Orange County that have made outstanding contributions of time, talent and resources to Goodwill. It was there that I first met Neemiah. As Neemiah approached the podium to speak the room was utterly silent. While he is small in stature his words and his heart took up the whole room. I’m not going to spoil his story since you will see him on the video included in this blog, but you’ll quickly see why there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. People didn’t feel sorry for Neemiah and the challenges he has faced, they felt an emotion that I still can’t quite describe. Certainly he is impressive, but it is his quiet presence and absolute conviction that no matter what barriers he might face in life, he now feels that he is going to achieve whatever goals he has in life. Recently he met with one of my team members for an interview and he revealed that someday it’s quite possible he will be the new president at Goodwill.

Before you watch this video, I would ask you, “What would you do, if you knew you could not fail?” — Frank Talarico, Jr, President & CEO, Goodwill of Orange County

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