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Success Story: Terry

July 4, 2013

Sgt. Terry Love poses with Goodwill team members Vanessa McCants and Wanda Weeks at the Career Development Center. Photo by Amanda Albright.

Sergeant William “Terry” Love served four years in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War.  When he transitioned from military service to civilian life in 1974, programs that supported veterans were few and far between.

“It was a different atmosphere back then,” says the Charlotte native. “There were very limited services available for Vietnam vets and they were scattered.” Love began taking college coursework through the Department of Veteran Affairs, but family obligations soon took precedent over studies. “My wife and I started a family shortly after I returned home,” says Love. “I needed to find a job quickly.”

Love worked in a variety of positions—first, selling insurance and then running his own barber business—until a stroke left him disabled in 2006. After undergoing intensive rehabilitation, Love faced challenges to finding family sustaining employment. An unfruitful job search took a toll on his self-esteem. “I had no direction and no idea what I was capable of doing,” he says. “It was a dark time in my life.”

A veteran friend of Love’s referred him to Goodwill’s employment services for veterans. Love worked with Goodwill team members Wanda Weeks and Vanessa McCants to learn basic computer skills, craft a resume that highlighted his business skills, and identify his career goals. Within weeks, Love says his outlook on approaching career opportunities brightened and he developed personal and professional goals that he wanted to pursue.

At Wanda’s suggestion, Love enrolled in a Notary Public course at Central Piedmont Community College and passed the requirements to earn his certification. Going back to school rekindled his educational ambitions and Love is interested in taking more courses to support his newfound career goals in Marketing and Sales.

For Love, the welcoming environment and camaraderie found at Goodwill were critical to his success. “Being around other vets and people who understand the military culture made me feel comfortable and helped boost my confidence,” he says. “Wanda and Vanessa are there for you 100 percent. It feels good.”

Love offers his own advice for veterans looking for work. “Find out what you want to do and make plans to reach your goals,” he says. “It’s never too late. Look at me. I’m 61 years old and going back to school. No one should ever give up on their dreams.”

Elizabeth Isenhour

Elizabeth Isenhour

What professional goals have you refused to give up on?

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