Goodwill awards laud independence, initiative

April 11, 2009 – 12:12 PM

ANDREA BROWN

THE GAZETTE

David Moorehead cleans bathrooms on a college campus.

Emily Miller stuffs envelopes.

Their jobs might not seem glamorous to you, but they are to them.

They take pride in their behind-the-scenes work at businesses around town.

At a banquet on Tuesday, they will get the spotlight.

Goodwill workers are nominated for their achievements by their case managers for the annual award. Winners are selected based on personal and professional accomplishments. They receive a plaque, $500 and are featured in Goodwill’s annual report. (See a video of the recipients here.)

Winners are:

2008 Community Worker of the Year: David Moorehead, 30

Moorehead is the strong, silent type on the job as a custodian at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Last year he achieved his goal of going from one task to another without prompting. Supervisors say he is tenacious and punctual. Even though he has trouble speaking, he finds a way to communicate. He loves music and has been known to sing while he sweeps.

Helms Legacy Award: Tonya Edwards, 28

As a teen, Edwards escaped family strife with alcohol, drugs and running away. By the age of 21, she lost custody of her young son and was sentenced to two years in ComCor, a community corrections facility. She turned to Goodwill for job services after her release six years ago. She worked her way up and now trains welfare recipients to be personal care providers in the Goodwill At Home program. She took parenting classes and has a new relationship with her 10-year-old son. The award models Goodwill founder Dr. Edgar J. Helms’ mission of giving others a hand up, not a hand out.

Co-Independence Award: Mary Pyle, 38

While her classmates were enjoying carefree childhoods, Pyle was suffering physical abuse and experimenting with narcotics. Twenty years later, the mother of two sons decided to turn her life around. Now five-years sober, she is a housekeeper at Crowne Plaza Hotel.

2008 Achiever of the Year: Emily Miller, 26

Miller took the initiative to find the perfect residential host home for herself last year. She personally interviewed potential roommates until she met her match: a country music fan, cooking enthusiast and someone who can take a good joke. She collates mailings for local businesses at Goodwill’s work center, where the harder she works, the more money she makes and the more independent she becomes. She increased her hourly wage in 2008.