My Story: “Good morning from Goodwill, this is Shirley. How can I help you?”

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My Story: “Good morning from Goodwill, this is Shirley. How can I help you?”

“Good morning from Goodwill, this is Shirley. How can I help you?” is the familiar sound coming from front reception…constantly…sometimes hundreds of times a day. The always polite, warm and cheerful voice is always an assurance for the caller. Employees and outside callers alike are always commenting on her professionalism and genuine interest she is able to convey from the other side of the telephone.

Shirley is the very first face you will encounter when you arrive at our Administrative offices. She is always punctum-al, cheerful, encouraging and genuine. Shirley has been seen comforting those that come in the office in distress with promises to pray for them. The personal obstacles she has faced over the years are largely unknown as she never seeks sympathy or attention.

Hired in November of 1983 by the then CEO John Paulson, she began to work the very next day. Shirley a single mother of 3 young daughters had just been released from the hospital after surgery to repair a serious back injury from her previous job.

Not one to ever “stay down” Shirley knew she needed a job and began at Goodwill with the same enthusiasm we still see 30 years later. She began working as an Assistant Production Supervisor assisting directly with clients to make ready goods, wares and clothing for sale in the store. At that time, wares were washed and dried thoroughly by hand, priced and then sent to the store to be sold. Every bedspread, blanket, towel, dress or shirt was laundered, ironed and hung. Shoes were sorted, cleaned and shined. Shirley pitched in right along with the clients patiently teaching them the necessary skills to gain meaningful employment.

Several months after beginning at Goodwill, the then HR Director brought Shirley in to assist him with several tasks while his assistant was on an extended leave. Here Shirley was challenged with the newfangled electric typewriter which she mastered. After the Assistant re-signed, Shirley was promoted to that position which she enjoyed until the unfortunate death of the Director.

Shirley has seen countless changes in her career here at Goodwill. The laundry is gone, the kitchen is gone, many co-workers and clients have moved on, yet she remains a steadfast and important part of our Goodwill family.

Shirley has been an outstanding employee, co-worker, and friend to many at Goodwill Industries of East Texas. She bravely overcame her physical obstacles be being a steadfast and faithful employee. All of her girls are adults now with college degrees, professional careers with children of their own. Being a grandmother is truly one of the joys of Shirley’s life.