Individuals and Community Recognized at Goodwill’s annual Breakfast Event

CANTON, OH – May 23, 2024 – Goodwill Industries of Greater Cleveland and East Central Ohio, Inc. (Goodwill) honored individuals and community partners from the Stark County, Ohio, and Hancock County, West Virginia, areas at its annual Report to the Community breakfast today at the Nash Family Event & Conference Center at the Pro Football Hall of Fame (2121 George Halas Dr NW, Canton, OH 44708). This event allows Goodwill to report back to the community on its mission programs, operations and overall impact locally.  

“Our annual Report to the Community breakfast event allows us an opportunity to share the success stories of our participants and recognize the outstanding work of area businesses and community leaders,” said Anne Richards, President and CEO of Goodwill. 

This year’s breakfast was generously sponsored by the Pro Football Hall of Fame; Mutual of America; Metallus; Assured Partners; Westfield Bank; Fully Promoted; Krugliak, Wilkins, Griffiths & Dougherty Co., L.P.A.; The M. Conley Co., and Spartan Chemical Co., Inc. The event featured Sandy Dukat as the keynote speaker. Dukat is a bronze medal-winning Paralympian who is from the Stark County area. She had her leg amputated when she was four years old. 

The breakfast highlighted the mission programs offered by Goodwill across its 10-county region. Goodwill presented the following annual awards: 

  • Carlos Elder received the Edgar J. Helms Outstanding Achiever Award. Elder, who suffered a gunshot wound to the head when he was young, worked with staff at Goodwill to gain the skills needed for employment. 
  • Betty Thompson received the Graduate of the Year Award. Thompson trained with Goodwill to overcome the barriers she faced. She loved Goodwill so much that she chose to work there after her training. 
  • The Massillon Recreation Center was honored with the Employer of the Year Award for the organization’s commitment to hire people with disabilities and provide opportunities for vocational rehabilitation through Goodwill Industries. 
  • Gavin Gorski was honored as Achiever of the Year. Gorski, who has autism, worked with Goodwill to overcome his barriers and gain employment in his community after a decade of being house-bound. 
  • Girl Scouts of North East Ohio received the Collaborative Partner of the YearAward. The organization has been an excellent partner with Goodwill, particularly with Good Turn Day, which introduces scouts to sustainability and the programs Goodwill offers. 
  • Goodwill employee Sue Gardner was the recipient of the Ken Weber Servant Leadership Award, named in honor of former CEO Ken Weber, and given for her dedication and leadership to mission of Goodwill. 

In 2023, nearly 17,000 community members were served by Goodwill, and more than 25 million pounds of materials were diverted from landfills thanks to people donating to Goodwill.