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WHY GOODWILL? BECAUSE IT HELPS PEOPLE LIKE LYNN

“It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.” — Chinese proverb

After the impact, Lynn initially thought another motorist had struck her car from behind. Then she realized, she had driven head-on into a metal sign post.

Shaken by the accident but uninjured, Lynn suspected she might need glasses. She scheduled an appointment with an eye doctor. He told her that her diabetes — first diagnosed when she was in her 20s — was destroying her vision.

The doctor scheduled surgeries: first on one eye, then the other. Both failed.

Meanwhile, Lynn’s declining vision forced her to quit her job of 11 years as the head cook for a nursing home. She also had worked for a big retail store, but neither employer could find a position for her once she was blind. She was unemployed for a full year.

To make matters worse, friendships that had been strong and vibrant before began to fade like images in an old photograph. Lynn found herself increasingly isolated, without purpose and — within two years of her wreck —  totally blind. She felt, she recalls, like God had forgotten her.

““To be honest,” she says, “I wanted to die.”

Though she doubted that anyone would give her a chance to work again, Lynn had heard that Goodwill helped people with disabilities find employment. So she asked her mother to drive her to the Mt. Juliet Goodwill store so she could submit an application.

The store’s manager, Shane Hubanks, invited her for an interview. Hubanks was impressed with Lynn’s experience and her desire to be productive again. Though he knew she would face challenges, he decided to offer her a position as a retail associate.

He started her off working as a greeter.

“I thought I would find something to get her acclimated, and she just took off with it. That’s her spot,” he said.

Today, at 39 years old, Lynn’s life is coming back into focus. Her job allows her to meet and talk to dozens of new people every week. It fills her with a sense of accomplishment, and her manager says she has a model attitude and constantly exceeds expectations.

“Lynn has a positive attitude and a welcoming and warm demeanor toward all customers and employees. She has an independence and will to succeed that are lacking in a lot of people who have no physical limitations,” Hubanks explained.

Lynn has made new friends and has re-established a social life. She is even learning to use a computer with special software for the blind at the Tennessee Rehabilitation Center.

“After I went blind, I lost everything — my job, my friends, my dignity and my self-worth,” Lynn said. “Coming to Goodwill has given me all that back.

“I feel like I have a life again,” she adds. “I love this job.”

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