Meet this year's Edgars
Each year, we celebrate the achievements of a select group of individuals who have made amazing strides in overcoming their barriers. The Edgars award is named after our founder, Edgar J. Helms.
Kristin is naturally shy and her struggles with social anxiety prevented her from finding work.
Thanks to assistance from Goodwill’s Retail Certification Training program, Kristin not only found the confidence needed to land a job at the Rock Island County Council on Addictions, but she also became comfortable interacting with the public, often initiating conversations.
Her former Goodwill co-workers share that she always has a smile on her face and made positive contributions to their team. When assigned tasks, she could be counted on to complete them in a timely manner.
Her ability to not only overcome her own barriers but help others do the same is one of many reasons Kristin Duerr was awarded the Trainee Achiever of the Year Award.
Brenda’s health challenges made traditional jobs difficult to maintain.
As a result, she decided to use her abundant creativity and sewing talent to pursue self-employment. With help from Goodwill, Brenda’s business SillySnappers was born.
Now Brenda designs and creates unique handmade clothing and accessories for babies and children. She has the flexibility to set her own schedule and find balance with her health needs.
She sells her merchandise at local farmers markets and thrives on interacting with her SillySnappers customers. Thanks to Goodwill’s Supported Employment Program, Brenda received the guidance she needed to succeed at running her own business.
Her perseverance in dealing with her barriers while maintaining her own business are just a few reasons why Brenda Greenway won our Employment Achiever of the Year Award.
Delberta’s mental health symptoms made leading a normal life very difficult.
As a result, Delberta qualified for assistance through Goodwill’s Supported Community Living Program.
This program helped her develop the skills she needed to manage her own life, from gaining confidence in driving her own vehicle to interacting with other people.
To quote Delberta, “I know there will be hard days. Those are the days my toolbox needs to be full and I have to use the skills I’ve learned. I know life is not all about fun and being happy. I just don’t want to cry everyday, or have emotional responses that keep me from seeing the other side.”
This commitment to managing her own life is why Delberta Shuman received our Supported Community Living Achiever of the Year Award.
A premature birth left David with a complex set of severe physical health issues.
In spite of these obstacles, David maintains a positive attitude and eagerness to do his best in living an independent life. Thanks to the help he receives from Goodwill’s Day Habilitation Program, David has become a strong self-advocate.
He is aware of potential limitations but is also committed to working around them so he can accomplish his goals. He now schedules his own transportation and takes a more active role in problem-solving life issues as they arise.
The Day Habilitation team at Goodwill has noted his willingness to welcome and help individuals new to the program.
The incredible progress David Weitzel made this past year is why he earned our Day Habilitation Achiever of the Year Award.
Mitchel Tuftee’s intellectual disability meant he often lacked awareness of those around him.
He also had difficulty following instructions and being patient.
Thanks to the training provided by a Goodwill Employment Specialist, Mitchel developed basic people skills like saying “excuse me” when walking past others and being patient when waiting to take his turn.
His progress landed him a job at North Scott Foods in Eldridge, Iowa, where he is a valued team member. Mitchel collects cardboard packaging materials and processes them into the compactor.
Mitchel’s supervisor, Andy, has noticed Mitchel now going out of his way to ask coworkers what they are having for lunch and will find “Mr. Andy” when he needs help or has a question.
Mitchel also now greets coworkers when he arrives and says goodbye when he leaves – something he never would have done just a few years ago.
Sarah is this year’s winner of the Helms Family Award for outstanding service as a Goodwill team member.
As the manager of our Geneseo store, Sarah has done an exceptional job of developing and maintaining an effective, customer-focused team. Those who work for her say she always makes work fun while also making it obvious how much she cares for everyone.
Her positive affirmation of individual strengths, while also encouraging friendly competition, has contributed to the Geneseo store consistently meeting their sales and donation production goals.
Beyond her work in the store, Sarah is actively involved in her community, with a passion to help those who face barriers to live a fulfilled life.
Her commitment to serving others is one of the many reasons Sarah Richards received the Helms Family Award.