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I woke up and I couldn’t remember anything. I had to relearn to read and write, walk, talk and eat.

Doctors told Debi she might never sing again. Of course, at the beginning of her medical odyssey, it was all doctors could do to keep the former professional singer breathing.

A massive heart attack in 2004 set off a chain of surgeries, setbacks and rehabilitation for Debi that lasted seven years. Initial vein grafts failed. Doctors induced comas and gave her a tracheotomy. One surgery left her with no feeling in her left leg.

“I woke up and I couldn’t remember anything. I had to relearn to read and write, walk, talk and eat.”

When her rehabilitation ended, Debi began looking for work, but that, too, proved traumatic.
“Nobody would give me a chance because of that big lapse in employment,” she said.

A friend recommended Debi visit the Goodwill Career Solutions center in Spring Hill. After job readiness classes, she began working at the same center through Goodwill’s Transitional Employment Services Program. Within six weeks, she was hired as an administrative assistant. A year later she moved and was transferred to the Goodwill store in Hendersonville. For the last year she has served as its office administrator.

“I feel useful and productive,” she said. “Goodwill gave me the chance to start over.”
What’s more, she is singing once again. She is in a band with five other musicians. They play oldies, Motown, jazz, funk and blues. The band performs at private parties and benefits, frequently for veterans. “We have a lot of fun,” she said. “It’s a small thing I can give back.”

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