Success Stories

David in Vermont found meaningful work at Goodwill after a heart transplant

David was working at the local grocery store when he got sick with a cold. That cold found its way into his heart, which eventually caused him to go into heart failure. He went through surgeries, survived a three-week coma, and was put on a heart transplant waiting list. On July 22, 2008 he got a new heart.

“The whole experience changed my life. Not just my body, but everything,” David said, sitting in the manager’s office at the South Burlington Goodwill store.

When he was ready to go back to work, he wanted to do something that helped people.

“I saw Goodwill and thought I might want to work for a nonprofit. It’s been good ever since. I really like it here. I have flexible hours, and I have a lot of special needs and the people here are so kind,” he said.

David started working the donation door, accepting donations and thanking customers. When the store had trouble finding someone to open, he offered. He’s now a shift supervisor. He spends his days helping his teammates, sorting through glass donations, and more. He’s been with Goodwill for seven years. At 55, he’s semi-retired and spends his days golfing when he’s not at work.

“I look back and realize I was not very appreciative before my transplant. People like me need a second chance, a leg up, or a start. This is a new chance at life,” David said. “I want to give back because so many people gave to me. You’ll never repay what they did for me, but I’ll try.”

He remembers nurses doing his laundry for him and other small – and huge – acts of kindness done for him over his lifetime. Now he greets each coworker with a huge smile. On a recent morning, he offered one sales associate “the good radio” and calls another “a superstar.”

“I made a lot of friends here. I really like coming here, it gives me structure. I’m know I’m good at my job. I’d be lost without work.”

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