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Longtime Goodwill Employee Retires

One of Goodwill’s longest-serving employees retired on Jan. 8. York Gerlock worked for Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee for more than 30 years.

 He first joined the nonprofit organization in 1989, when at age 31 he became a participant in a special program that taught culinary skills to people with disabilities.

 York, who has Down Syndrome, eventually transitioned to processing donations at Goodwill’s downtown Nashville warehouse — a job he loved. He became a founding member of a large group of people with intellectual or developmental disabilities who work together and are affectionately known as the “A-Team.”

 For the last several years, York worked with the A-Team at Goodwill’s Rivergate store in Madison. Recently, health issues have slowed him down, leading to his decision to retire.

 York is a fan of the Tennessee Titans and likes talking about sports and the weather.

 On Jan. 8, the A-Team celebrated York with a pizza party at the Rivergate store, and then many of his co-workers, family and admirers from the community joined them for cake.

 “We are here to celebrate an accomplishment that I would argue very few of us in this room will achieve — to work for one company for 30 years,” said Matthew Bourlakas, President and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee.  “Every day, when York got up, he wanted to come to work. And I know there are several in this room who have benefited from the hard work, dedication and the joy that York has been a part of for 30 years.

A team member like York is the epitome of our vision, which is that everyone should have the opportunity to reach their full potential through the power of work,” he added.

York’s mother, Elizabeth Gerlock, was also on hand for the celebration. She recalled how York recently fell and broke his leg and could not work for three months. On the day of his return to Goodwill, all of his co-workers gathered around his work station and cheered.

“I could just see how much it meant to him — that job that he had done for so long,” she said. “I really appreciate Goodwill and the fact that he’s had meaningful work, and that he’s had people that cared about him.”

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3 Comments
  • Elizabeth Williams
    Posted at 10:43h, 10 January Reply

    Congratulation York Gerlock enjoy your retirement you have earned it.

    Elizabeth

  • Janice L. Holt
    Posted at 10:11h, 10 January Reply

    What a sweet story. I’m from North Alabama and me and my sisters try to go to one of the Goodwill’s in Tennessee. So glad Goodwill gives these people a chance to live a full life. No doubt in my mind, they are more appreciative of their jobs than anybody could ever be that are not physically limited. All the Goodwill employees are always so kind and helpful to us. Look forward to our next visit which will be soon if the Lord’s willing.

  • Denise Bryant Smith
    Posted at 06:32h, 10 January Reply

    How wonderful and inspiring, to give someone with this opportunity to achieve such a goal.

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