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It makes you feel good — like you’re going to work for a purpose, I believe I can make a difference.

Paul was selling residential windows in Detroit six years ago, but the recession clouded his ability to see a future for himself in that hard-hit city. So, he packed his van with his belongings and moved to Nashville.

“When the housing market went south, so did I,” he explained.

But his first five months in the Music City had him singing the blues. Paul applied for job after job with no luck, and his money was running out. His brother, father and grandmother died during the same short period.

“It was a difficult part of my life,” he said.

Then, despite never having worked in retail before, he filled out an application at Goodwill.

“It’s the best decision I’ve made in the past 10 years,” he said.

Paul was hired as the sole processor for the Hermitage Goodwill store. As the store gained

customers, more employees were hired and he was promoted to lead processor, overseeing shipping and receiving.

Paul works hard and keeps his employees on track as well. He says it brings him satisfaction to know that his diligence supports Goodwill’s mission of providing employment and training opportunities to people with disabilities or who, like he once was, are having trouble finding work for other reasons.

“It makes you feel good — like you’re going to work for a purpose,” he said. “I believe I can make a difference.”

Paul compares his co-workers to family and says he has turned down offers to work elsewhere, including back in Michigan.

“I’m comfortable here,” he says, adding “Because of Goodwill, I am an independent person today.”

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