Walter Wilson has been a great blessing to us and a real asset to our community

Mike Brecheen

Small locally run not-for-profits support a community’s most vulnerable populations and have an immense impact on the people whose lives they touch. What we often don’t see are the far-reaching effects of these small every-day acts of kindness, how a small thrift shop or one individual changes not only the community, but the world around them, for the better.

At the Fort White Community Thrift Shop (FWCTS) in Fort White, Florida, Board Chairman Mike Brecheen is proud of the work the shop is able to accomplish. In a town with population of only 570, he should be. The small thrift shop not only serves their local community and surrounding Florida communities but has been able to send aid as far away as Puerto Rico for hurricane victims and has an ongoing commitment to help the less-fortunate in Guatemala with food, shelter, and clothing.

The mission of the Fort White Community Thrift Shop is simple: To encourage a true spirit of community by offering those around them the opportunity to volunteer and to respond as God enables them to the needs that arise all over the nation and around the world with food, clothing, and other basic necessities.

ReEmployAbility placed a Transition2Work participant, Walter, at the thrift shop in May 2018. Walter is a Truck Driver and hurt his shoulder when he slipped and caught himself while climbing into his truck. After his injury, Walter was angry and disappointed when he learned he would miss work for an extended period of time due to his injury.

Walter had never volunteered before and hadn’t considered it an option to keep active while his injury healed. His company enrolled Walter in the Transition2Work program so he could focus on healing knowing his job would be waiting for him when he was ready to return.

The Transition2Work program allows companies like Walter’s trucking company the ability to offer light-duty transitional assignments when they are unable to themselves through not-for-profit organizations. The program is giving Walter a chance to remain active in his community in a way he never considered while earning wages from his employer.

“[Working at the not-for-profit] keeps me more active than just staying home,” said Walter. “It keeps my mind occupied instead of feeling bad for myself.”

Walter enjoys the people he has met and said helping people through the not-for-profit has given him a different perspective on the world around him. Extending farther than just Walter and his employer, the community around Walter is benefiting from the partnership.

“Walter Wilson has been a great blessing to us and a real asset to our community,” said Chairman Mike Brecheen. “Although we are glad for him to be recovering and able to reenter the work force at a better rate of pay, we are truly going to miss him and the contributions he has made to FWCTS.”