Positively Jax: Goodwill celebrates 75 years

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Goodwill Industries celebrated its 75th anniversary in Jacksonville on Thursday by honoring three employees for their hard work and presenting a celebrity fashion show.

"Every year we honor three people who have been through Goodwill programs and are now working and self sufficient," said Karen Phillips, chief operating officer of Goodwill.

One of the workers honored was Chester Swan. He's been with Goodwill for nearly three years and works as a laundry technician.

"It was tough my first year. My first day at work, I didn't know what to do or where to go. But my bosses showed me what I needed to do and I got the hang of it. After those two years I kept on moving," said Swan.

Swan said it feels great receiving an award and he tried not to cry during the ceremony.

"I've worked for two years and helped a lot of people. If they want me to stay at work, I stay in the store. Sometimes I get my job done the right way that I'm supposed to get it done, keep my area straight, have a good day and stuff. I think this award is really good for me," said Swan.

IMAGES:  Goodwill fashion show

Goodwill said a lot of the people who come through its doors have fallen through the cracks and need to learn skills to hold a job. Swan has made great strides since he started working there.

"Chester is a blessing. Chester comes in with a great attitude, smile on his face, eager to work, doesn't complain. He's probably one of the hardest workers they have out there," said Ken Johnson, vice president of operations at Goodwill.

As part of the annual luncheon, Goodwill holds a celebrity fashion show with local media personalities. They wear clothing you can find at local Goodwill stores.

Channel 4's Nikki Kimbleton emceed the event and Melanie Lawson and her daughter, Layah, participated in the fashion show.

For a list of local Goodwill stores and information on job opportunities. visit www.Goodwill.org.