A record crowd of 840 attendees at Discover Goodwill’s April 25 Annual Dinner was treated to an activity packed evening emphasizing the importance of material donations as lifelines for tens of thousands of individuals with economic and developmental challenges in our community. KRDO News 13 Anchor Jon Karroll hosted Discover Goodwill’s signature celebration event for his 10th consecutive year and Presenting Sponsor ANB Bank was represented by Regional President Lonnie Parsons. An opening comedy sketch by President and CEO Karla Grazier and Board of Directors Chair Steve Condon showcased a trendy studio apartment replica furnished exclusively with items donated to Discover Goodwill’s attended donation centers. Grazier underscored the life-changing impact that donations make with the analogy that if each of the evening’s attendees made one donation visit to Discover Goodwill, their collective donations would fund 140 job placements locally.
Top business awards included Guiding Light Award Honoree the Daniels Fund—represented by Senior Vice President of Grants Kristin Todd—which contributed an unprecedented $1 million grant to Discover Goodwill’s “Paths to Independence” capital campaign dedicated to the creation of the one-of-a-kind Possibilities program. Wal-Mart Market Manager Gary Peacock accepted the coveted Discover Goodwill Award in recognition of Wal-Mart’s near 20-year partnership providing rent-free, premium parking spaces for five attended donation centers throughout the Pikes Peak region.
The Annual Dinner was capped off with a celebration of four remarkable individuals who have overcome extraordinarily difficult circumstances and claimed their independence—including Helms Legacy Award Honoree Joel Ramos-Jimenez. Joel’s journey to a better life for him and his family began nearly 2,700 miles from Discover Goodwill in Puerto Rico, where he worked with the elderly and at-risk youth. Joel’s caregiver role also carried over to his home life; his wife had a chronic medical condition and his eldest son struggled with severe learning challenges.
Putting family first, Joel made the difficult decision to send his wife and son to live with relatives in the U.S. where they could get the care they needed while he and his younger children remained in Puerto Rico. After six long months, Joel reunited his family in the U.S. and was offered employment with Discover Goodwill’s Fresh Start Commercial Laundry, where he quickly advanced into a supervisor role. Joel’s “fresh start” with Goodwill allows him to support his family and fulfill his life’s calling to assist other individuals with disadvantages and help them find their personal path to independence.
Annual Dinner Individual Award Honorees:
Helms Legacy Award Honoree—Joel Ramos-Jimenez
Achiever of the Year—Tandy Brown
Community Employee of the Year—Patti Vasquez
Independence Award Honoree—Ashley Arellanes
Annual Dinner Business Honorees:
Guiding Light Award—Daniels Fund
Discover Goodwill Award—Wal-Mart
Extending Goodwill Award Honorees:
Special guests in attendance at Discover Goodwill’s Annual Dinner celebration included El Paso County Commissioner and DHS Liaison Sallie Clark; Former Goodwill Executives Bob Baker and Ken Olson; ANB Bank Regional President Lonnie Parsons and Rita Parsons; Chris and Molly Odell; Mari Sinton-Martinez; Kristin Guggenhime; Jim and Elizabeth Spittler; Jeff and Jennifer George; Buzz and Christy Walsh; Matt and Jenny Craddock; CJ Moore; Pete Vujcich; Kristel and BJ Hybl; Susie and Dave Jenkins; Judy and Bill Mackey; Gayle Beshears; Barbara Winter; Trent and Rita Stafford; Bill and Kathy Hybl; and Phil and Anne De Vries.
(L-R) Achiever of the Year Tandy Brown, Independence
Award Honoree Ashley Arellanes, Helms Legacy Award
Honoree Joel Ramos-Jimenez and Community Employee
of the Year Patti Vasquez