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Success stories celebrated at Goodwill awards dinner

May 17, 2007|by JANET HEIM

Just a few years ago, Deborah Dunnavant was homeless with few prospects.

Now, she's a Horizon Goodwill success story.

As Dunnavant, 35, accepted the Bennett S. Rubin Graduate of the Year Award on May 9 at the 52nd annual awards dinner at Cortland Manor, she was unable to hold back the tears.

She recounted how she went from being homeless to being dishwashing supervisor at Always Ron's, a job that allows her to rent her own apartment, have her own medical insurance and most of all, gives her pride and independence.

Nominated for the award by her vocational case manager, Lynn Benson, Dunnavant credits her success to Horizon Goodwill.

Through their career development program, individuals seeking employment work for Horizon Goodwill for 60 to 90 days while they search for a permanent job. Goodwill provides assistance with job applications and résumés, lining up job interviews and preparation for those interviews.

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Case managers provide support and encouragement once Goodwill clients find a job.

Dunnavant's road hasn't been easy. The first several jobs didn't work out because of conflicts with co-workers, but Always Ron's proved to be the right fit for her.

She started working there as a dishwasher almost two years ago and has worked her way up to dishwashing supervisor.

Also honored at the awards dinner was Dawn Spiker, who received the Achiever of the Year Award. Spiker has been working at Beverly Living Center in Cumberland, Md.

When Spiker's previous job was eliminated, she was faced with barriers to employment, including transportation and job-hunting skills. Case manager Heather Raley was Spiker's support system and helped her find the job at Beverly, where she works as a dining service assistant.

"I want to thank Goodwill for all the support they've given me over the last 12 years," Spiker said. "Thank you for nominating me for Achiever of the Year."

Diana Trail, who is profoundly disabled, received the Chuck Robinette Spirit of Goodwill Award. She was nominated by three of her caregivers with the day program Horizon Goodwill has offered in Cumberland since 1986.

"Diana has made such strides in the past year in her volunteer work," agency nurse Pam Ringer said. "The struggles she goes through every day just to get to work ..."

Trail, 45, has been helping with recycling, and volunteers at Finan Fashions in the Finan Center in Cumberland, where she helps bag items being purchased and helps hold bags. She uses a special walker that has given her some independence and mobility.

Horizon Goodwill CEO/Executive Director Craig Maclean brought the evening to a close with some words of inspiration.

"Keep in mind no matter what the nature of the disability or barrier ... somewhere in that person is potential," Maclean said. "Bring it out and in doing so build a life and a future."




Award winners



The following were honored at Horizon Goodwill Industries 52nd annual Awards Dinner.

· Deborah Dunnavant - Bennett S. Rubin Graduate of the Year

· Dawn Spiker - Achiever of the Year

· Diana Trail - Chuck Robinette Spirit of Goodwill Award

· Amcor Flexibles and Weiss Bros. Paper - Employers of the Year

· Bon-Ton - Business Partner of the Year

· Hangers Unlimited - Company of the Year

· Steve Hummel and Marianne Zeigler - Massey Roe Community Service Award

· Sid Huguenin - Board of Directors 2004-2007

· Serge Ducharme - Chairman of the Board 2006-07

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