Horizon Goodwill celebrates the power of work


Judy Titchnell said she had considerable obstacles to finding a job.

"I needed something I could do sitting down," Titchnell said. "I don't have a lot of education and my qualifications were kind of limited."

Titchnell was born with spina bifida and uses a wheelchair. She said it wasn't necessary for her to work until about three years ago, when her husband retired and her medical insurance coverage ended.

Titchnell, 57, of Front Royal, Va., turned to Horizon Goodwill Industries for help. She began working at one of the organization's training facilities in Winchester, Va., then about a year ago, with assistance from Horizon, Titchnell became employed by Lowe's in Winchester as a telephone operator.


"I work with mostly able-bodied people," Titchnell said. "It's a new experience for them. It's been a little rough at times, but hopefully it will pave the way for others."

Titchnell was one of 13 individuals and businesses honored Wednesday, May 10, at Horizon Goodwill Industries' 51st annual Power of Work awards dinner. About 160 people gathered for the event at Cortland Mansion in Hagerstown.

Craig MacLean, chief executive officer and executive director of Horizon Goodwill Industries, said the organization provides support to people who experience any type of substantial barrier to employment. MacLean said the annual awards dinner goes beyond recognizing people who have surmounted significant obstacles.

"These awards speak to others in similar circumstances to say, 'If they can, you can too.' And it says to business owners, 'You ought to think about hiring these people and think about how you can help them build their own lives and build the community,'" MacLean said.

Michael Guessford is a proprietor who responded to that call. Guessford, owner of Always Ron's Restaurant and Catering, received the small employer of the year award for partnering with Horizon Goodwill to provide employment opportunities.

Guessford said his partnership with Horizon Goodwill has reduced the complexity of the hiring process by providing him with workers whose skills and work habits already have been identified.

"These people want to work. They want to perform and do well," Guessford said.

Seven area businesses sponsored the event. Among them was Hagerstown Trust, from which Senior Vice President Stephen Hummel serves as treasurer of the Horizon Goodwill board of directors. Hummel said he has served on the board since the early 1980s because of the powerful impact the organization has on peoples' lives.

"When people get real work experience, they can go out and get a job and fend for themselves," Hummel said. "That actually changes their lives and improves the community."

Titchnell and Michael Shoemaker both received Bennett S. Rubin graduate of the year awards.

Other Horizon Goodwill awards and their recipients were:

Achiever of the year, Tera Getson; employer of the year, Martin's Food Markets on Dual Highway and on Wesel Boulevard; business partner of the year, Universal Forest Products Inc.; Chuck S. Robinette spirit of Goodwill award, Gloria Lowery; Massey H. Roe memorial service award, Robert Crawford and After Five Productions; and board recognition, Dr. William Plavcan, Bradley Pingrey, Spence Perry and Michael Brashears.

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