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Goodwill Employees Honored at EOY Luncheon

Nov 9, 2023

This past Monday, November 6th, Goodwill of the Finger Lakes held a luncheon to celebrate Emily Mitchell as the New York State Preferred Source Program (NYSPSP) for People Who Are Blind Employee of the Year Nominee. The luncheon also honored National Industries for the Blind (NIB) Peter J. Salmon Nominee Jose Rodriguez and NIB Milton J. Samuelson Nominee Terry Tracy.

Jose Rodriguez was nominated for the NIB Peter J. Salmon Employee of the Year Award. Established in 1968 by the NIB Board of Directors, this award is named after the late Dr. Salmon, one of the nation’s outstanding advocates for people who are blind.

Jose's journey with Goodwill began in 1996 when he received Vision Services through Goodwill Vision Enterprises (formerly known as ABVI). Working with GVE's Workforce Development team, he applied to Goodwill Manufacturing and was hired in November of 2014 as a Sewing Production Worker. Jose's positive attitude, work ethic, and leadership makes an impact on the manufacturing floor and sets an example for his teammates.

A fun fact about Jose: Jose is a handyman and enjoys kitchen and bathroom remodeling for family, friends, and himself.

Terry Tracy was nominated for the NIB Milton J. Samuelson Career Achievement Award. This award is presented to an individual who demonstrates career advancement at an NIB associated nonprofit agency or in the private sector. Named after the late Dr. Samuelson, the award is a tribute to his leadership in establishing upward mobility and placement programs for people who are blind.

Terry became involved with Goodwill Vision Enterprises through our Vision Rehabilitation Services, which led to exploring job opportunities at our Contact Center. After joining GVE's business unit, Terry quickly became a key contributor to supporting the growth of Goodwill's operation. Terry soon joined the agency’s Business Development team and now develops GVE's portfolio of Industrial Safety products.

Some fun facts about Terry: he is a former college quarterback, an elite dog trainer, winner of the “Best Dad in the Galaxy” award.

Emily Mitchell works in production for GVE's Manufacturing Division and is the nominee for this year's NYSPSP Employee of the Year Award! The award is intended to recognize and reward outstanding and exemplary work by a person who is blind or visually impaired.

Emily is always eager to learn new jobs and is willing to help out wherever there is a production need. She approaches her work with mindfulness and informs her supervisor whenever quality concern issues are encountered. Emily is amazing! Her compassionate and upbeat personality makes her approachable, and her empathy, open-mindedness and listening ear have earned her the affectionate nickname of the “Dear Abby” of the team.

Emily believes that challenges such as vision loss should not hinder anyone from achieving their dreams. She loves helping her co-workers, many of whom are also blind and visually impaired, and regularly takes them shopping and out to grab a meal.  

A fun fact about Emily: she enjoys singing in her church’s gospel choir, which she has done since she was 6 years old!

From left, John Henderson (GFL Board Chair), Jen Lake (GFL President and CEO), Jose Rodriguez (award nominee), Emily Mitchell (award winner), Terry Tracy (award nominee), Brian Harrington (GFL Board Member), and Chris Burke (Director of Programs NYSPSP)

Congratulations to Emily, Jose, and Terry!