Goodwill’s Gift: Neemiah’s Story

Throughout his life, all Neemiah ever wanted from the world was a chance to prove that regardless of his physical barriers — those visible for everyone to see and others, hidden behind his brave and humble exterior — he was capable.

Capable of contributing to society, of being a dependable employee, of doing what everyone else thought he couldn’t do: shine.

NeemiahDespite applying for multiple jobs since the age of 16, Neemiah did not actually get that chance until his 28th birthday, his first day as a Goodwill of Orange County trainee employee.

“I know I’ve always been capable of anything I set my mind to,” says Neemiah, who cannot bend any of his limbs and lives in constant, excruciating pain. “I’m part of a team that directly impacts people that we serve in our communities. I contribute to an amazing organization that helps people who are different.”

Being different has been a familiar feeling for Neemiah since childhood, but he’s never allowed his uniqueness define him. A fan of music, an escape that helps him cope with his pain, Neemiah learned to play the guitar, piano and drums, although his instructor said it would be nearly impossible. “I told myself, I’m not going to let anybody (deny) twist what I want,” he says.

Neemiah’s dedicated service, role-model work ethic and positive attitude make a major difference that only he can deliver.

Neemiah 2“Me being an inspiration for others, that’s my gift to the world,” he says. “No matter what happens, I have to take care of myself. No matter what time I go to bed, I’ll wake up at 4 o’clock in the morning, go to the gym with my wife, go to work, and push my team to make a difference.”

Neemiah is one of Goodwill’s precious gifts.

Watch Neemiah’s video below to hear more about his journey and determination.

Donate to Goodwill of Orange County today to change the lives of people like Neemiah through the power of work. You can #Donate4Good here.


This post was written by Shaleek Blackburn and originally appeared in the Orange County Register.

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