THE BLOG

Whatever Your Profession, You Can Help Strengthen Your Community

08/15/2012 03:04 pm ET | Updated Oct 15, 2012

When I contemplate the characteristics exhibited by an exemplary volunteer, I think of dedication, selflessness, a desire to give back to the community, and a drive to uphold the highest level of humility and integrity. And, this past week in Duluth, GA, I was pleased to present the inaugural Forrest L. Wood Sportsmanship and Community Leadership Award to an angler from Arkansas who epitomized all of these qualities.

The recipient, Mark Rose, shares many of the values that Goodwill appreciates. He exemplified the ideals of sportsmanship and community service throughout the 2012 season by displaying ethical behavior, upholding integrity, class, selflessness, conservation efforts and kindness to others. In recognizing this outstanding individual, we at Goodwill aligned with FLW, the world's premier tournament-fishing organization, to set the tone for the future of tournament fishing by passing those values along to future anglers, sponsors, fans and host communities.

For five years, Goodwill has partnered with FLW to sponsor the Forrest L. Wood Cup. In 2011, we built upon this partnership by collecting donations during each tournament fishing event. The revenue we raise from selling donated, gently used clothes and household items at our more than 2,700 Goodwill stores changes lives by funding job training, employment placement services and other community programs.

Many have asked what fishing and Goodwill have in common. The answer is simple: Goodwill provides services that help strengthen families and provide stability at home and in the workplace, and FLW matches these priorities in their facilitation of large-scale, family-focused activities.

In 2011, the revenue from our stores helped us provide 10 million personal and family services and helped nearly 190,000 people earn jobs. With a nationwide unemployment rate of more than 8 percent, these services are needed more than ever before.

Just as FLW anglers exhibit the highest standards of community living, from showing respect and civility toward their fellow competitors to performing community service work on a regular basis, you, too, can find ways to give back to your community.

The Goodwill enterprise boasts volunteers from all walks of life, backgrounds and experience levels. We are hopeful that this award will encourage community members to volunteer their time and resources to influence positive change in their local communities. Whether this means donating goods, mentoring students through our GoodGuides® program, or lending professional expertise to help job seekers improve their résumé or interviewing skills, everyone has something to contribute.

There's no better time to begin demonstrating the same traits that we celebrated with this year's Sportsmanship and Community Leadership Award. Everyone has skills and talents to contribute, and every act of kindness makes a difference.

Goodwill and FLW -- building stronger communities.