Clients, Staff, Students Honored at Annual Meeting

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Thank you to everyone who attended our Annual Dinner at Beech Activity Center on October 9. Nearly 400 people joined us for a heartwarming evening as we recognized incoming and outgoing board members, honored staff, clients and students for their special achievements, and listened to Jared Estes’ inspiring story of tragedy and triumph. Congratulations to these award recipients, and thank you to our incoming and outgoing board members for their dedicated service to our organization. Check out more pictures from the event on our Facebook page.


Megan Cain, Most Improved

When Megan began working at Goodwill, working was not a priority. She spent all of her time socializing and refused work opportunities. She also struggled with maintaining an appropriate work attitude. Over the last year, she has really begun to realize that working and earning a paycheck is a valuable part of life. Her attitude has completely turned around and although she still loves to socialize with her peers, she now will put that on hold until her work activities are completed.

Emporia, Store of the Year

Our Goodwill now operates 19 stores throughout south central and western Kansas. These stores are all outstanding in the retail services they provide which is the reason our community continues to shop and donate with Goodwill. The stores are an important part of the success of the Goodwill mission, as dollars from the stores are used to support Goodwill’s mission. Our retail stores had some significant weather related challenges during the past year. Even so, the Emporia store had a 5% increase in sales over last year, while increasing their gross margin to 33%. In addition, they reduced their labor rate from 37% to 35.2% compared to budget.

David Galbreath, Most Valuable Team Player 

When working as a team, cooperation is a key – tonight’s honoree is one of the most cooperative people you will ever meet. Whether it’s cleaning, sorting shoes, boxing fiber, or moving stuff, he is the guy for the job.  He never refuses any jobs and he always volunteers when staff members are looking for help. He works well with any member of the team and never gets involved in drama or quits before the job is finished.

Kent Houtz, Most Enthusiastic

When the staff were asked who deserved the most enthusiastic award this year, Kent was unanimously chosen. He arrives at work every day with a smile on his face and a hug or a high five for everyone he greets. He is supportive of his peers and staff – cheering loudly when they win a door prize or accomplish a task. He’s also quite a dancer – usually the first one on the dance floor and the last to quit

Jay King, Most Dependable

What do all employers want most in an employee? Someone who shows up every day and is willing to do any job asked of them. This is exactly how you can describe Jay — always ready to work and never refuses a job. He volunteers for every job he can and is always ready to drop all other things in favor of working. He sticks with his task until the job is done and always with a smile on his face and a high-five for his team members.

Darlene Paxson (Goddard), President’s Outstanding Employee of the Year

At Goodwill, we have outstanding employees. This next award was created to recognize those employees who perform above their job expectations, exemplify our values, and honor the mission of our organization. Darlene has worked for Goodwill since early 2012. Starting as a sales associate, she was soon asked to serve as a team lead, and was then recruited for the challenging role of launching the Home Goods store in Goddard last June. Since the concept for the Goddard store was different than the others, there were, and continue to be, some unique challenges. This employee finds solutions and encourages her employees to do the same. Her leadership has paid off, as the Goddard store exceeded budget by 22% last fiscal year.
Terri Ramsey (Maize), Marie Mareda Outstanding Employee of the Year 

Terri has worked for Goodwill since April of 2009. She has earned the respect of her coworkers by being a team player and pitching in to do whatever is needed. Her employees say she is extremely hard working and valued for her respectful way of handling any situation. Her consistent effort to follow protocol and require the same of others can be seen in the fact that sales at her store have increased by 64% in the 5 years since she became the manager.

Sonny Rice, In recognition of 20 years of service

Sonny celebrated his 20th anniversary as an employee of Goodwill this year. With his positive attitude, great work ethic and friendly smile, Sonny Rice is truly a wonderful part of the Goodwill team.
Meagan Rowe, Achiever of the Year (VIDEO

This award is given to an individual in our day program who demonstrates success in their work at Goodwill. Meagan has really grown since she came to Goodwill in 2010. In the past year, her work skills have progressed, her confidence has matured – and she’s successfully taken on the challenge of community employment part-time. Watch a video about Meagan.

Brandon Sanders, Rookie of the Year

Always ready to work – Brandon volunteers for any job and is ready to help anyone with anything he can. He is an especially great janitor and can sweep a floor so clean you can see your reflection. In addition, he has a very friendly personality, gets along great with his peers and staff members. He has been a great addition to the Goodwill team, as everyone really enjoys working with him.

Ryan Suffield, Scholar of the Year (VIDEO)

The Scholar of the Year Award is given to somebody who excelled in the NextStep Alliance Program. This year’s honoree is a graduate of our GED program. The unique partnership between Goodwill and Wichita Area Technical College was just what he needed to complete his high school education and move into a full-time position in the aviation industry. His determination and hard work make Ryan Suffield our 2014 Scholar of the Year. Watch a video about Ryan.

David Swain (El Dorado), Manager of the Year

The Manager of the Year award is given to the Goodwill retail store manager who, over the past year, has shown leadership and stood apart from their peers. David came to Goodwill in March of 2010 as an assistant manager and within less than 6 months, he was promoted to store manager. During the past year, his ability to lead and motivate his team is evident in that his store exceeded their sales budget by nearly 6%, despite the challenges posed by the long winter. In addition, there has been a noticeable increase in customer compliments and decrease in staff turnover – not to mention his store has won the last two friendly competitions between store for the highest percentage of donations to the “Register Round Up” program.

Jay Whiley, Graduate of the Year (VIDEO)

The Graduate of the Year award is given to an individual who has successfully fulfilled their community employment goals. After 12 years of unemployment and living in his parent’s rural home, Jay now holds a full-time job and lives independently in his own apartment. His unbeatable work ethic and drive is what makes Jay our 2014 Graduate of the Year. Watch a video about Jay.

Cub Marion (Lee Aerospace)
Lauragail Locke (City of Wichita)
Stephanie Bowen (Koch Industries)

Don Barry (Wells Fargo)
Bill Hanna
Shawn Lancelot (Bank of America)
Mark Nichols (Koch Industries)
Dave Unruh (Sedgwick County)