Central Illinois Goodwill Helping Veterans Get Back To Work

Published 09/19 2013 03:12PM

Updated 09/30 2013 04:53PM

PEORIA – Goodwill of Central Illinois is seeing an overwhelming amount of veterans who need food, housing, and a job. A special program through the not-for-profit is putting more of them back to work. It’s how Goodwill is Taking Action.

Clyde Leach admits he’s been struggling to find work. He said, “I just needed a job and I was really down about it and my morale was low.”

The Vietnam vet was laid off a year ago, and that’s when he began the search. He said his age and lack of education were obstacles.

He knew he needed something or someone to help him. That’s where Johanna Wagner comes in. She wants more veterans to take advantage of Goodwill's services. She said, "Take a chance, come in, and see what we have to offer.”

Wagner is Goodwill’s Veteran Services Manger. She said, “We just want people to know you can come in, we will customize, and we will work with you individually to build a plan to help you find employment.”

Wagner said Goodwill offers a place for vets to use a computer and have some lunch. Through its program, veterans get interview tips and if needed, nice shoes and an appropriate outfit.

Leach said, “They gave me a lot of resources that I would have never had. It just amazed me the professionalism of the staff."

Leach’s story does have a happy ending. “I'll be working for Choice Books out of Metamora, Illinois and I will be one of their drivers."

He said he’s sharing his success to let his military brothers and sisters know the help they need is right here.

Wagner added, “We've had a lot of vets come in and they doubt the program, but when they hear stories like Clyde's, they're like 'wow, maybe I can get helped.'"

You can help support the veterans in need and Goodwill of Central Illinois. The first-ever Forward March and Run is taking place on Saturday, October 12.

The race begins at 8:00 A.M. It starts and ends at Dozer Park in Peoria.

Participants can choose from a one mile march, a four mile run, or an eight mile run.

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