ROCKVILLE, Md., May 8, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Tyres Dickson had just started a promising college football career with the University of Texas (UT) Longhorns when a drunk driver changed the course of his life. An accident left him paralyzed from the chest down but, with Goodwill's help, he developed skills that earned him a job that focuses on his abilities and not his disability. Goodwill Industries International recently named Dickson its 2013 Achiever of the Year for his efforts to redefine what makes a successful work life.
After the accident, Dickson spent 18 months of recovery in the hospital and eight months learning life skills to deal with limited mobility. He then re-enrolled at UT to continue his education, but was unable to attend classes due to difficulties related to his paralysis and he moved back to Houston, TX, to live with his mother. Compensation from the accident allowed him to pursue his own audio and sound mixing business, but the theft of his audio equipment in December 2008 left him without the means to earn a paycheck.
Dick Taylor, a UT alum and football booster who'd met Dickson almost a decade earlier, heard about the theft. Taylor was a friend of Steve Lufburrow, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Houston (TX), and called him immediately and set up a meeting between Dickson and the CEO.
Lufburrow saw promise in the young man and hired him as the agency's transportation dispatcher. When he learned Dickson didn't have a way to get to work, Lufburrow enlisted help from others at Goodwill, including Emily Conner, who worked in the Goodwill's human resources department and was paralyzed in a diving accident. She helped Dickson access the job readiness supports that helped him succeed on the job.
"Challenges to employment don't exist in Tyres' world. He demonstrates that meaningful work is something everyone deserves," said Jim Gibbons, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International.
Although his path has not always been easy, Dickson has remained upbeat, determined and humble. He has used his life story to inspire others through local speaking opportunities.
"After my accident and the break-in, I was somewhat weary of the character of man," he said. "Goodwill made me realize there were still people in the world that truly cared about helping others. With the help of Goodwill, I am now able to fully accept God's will for my life and future. I hope to help pay it forward by being an inspiration for others."
Dickson will be honored during Goodwill's annual Delegate Assembly meeting in June 2013 in Grand Rapids, MI.
Goodwill Industries International's Achiever of the Year is a person who has shown great progress and accomplishment in overcoming challenges to finding employment, and who still benefits from the Goodwill work environment or receives services to support employment at a community site.
About Goodwill Industries International:
Goodwill Industries International is a network of 165 community-based agencies in the United States and Canada with 14 affiliates in 13 other countries. Goodwill is one of America's top 25 most inspiring companies (Forbes). Goodwill agencies are innovative and sustainable social enterprises that fund job training programs, employment placement services and other community-based programs by selling donated clothing and household items in more than 2,800 stores and online at shopgoodwill.com. Local Goodwill agencies also build revenue and create jobs by contracting with businesses and government to provide a wide range of commercial services, including packaging and assembly, food service preparation, and document imaging and shredding. In 2012, more than 4.2 million people in the United States and Canada benefited from Goodwill's career services. Goodwill channels 82 percent of its revenues directly into its programs and services. To find a Goodwill location near you, use the online locator at locator.goodwill.org, or call (800) GOODWILL. Follow us on Twitter: @GoodwillIntl or @GoodwillCapHill, or find us on Facebook: GoodwillIntl.
SOURCE Goodwill Industries International