Former addict, breast cancer survivor credits Goodwill for helping her re-claim life

Photo: WKRN

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Small steps can sometimes lead to big changes.

No one knows that better than Nashville resident and Goodwill of Middle Tennessee team leader Theresa Banks.

Theresa was addicted to drugs and alcohol, but in 2013, she decided it was time to re-claim her life.

“I was struggling, trying to find some stability in my life, and I thought about Goodwill and decided to give it a try,” she recalled.

That turned out to be one of the best decisions Theresa has ever made.

She told herself she would give the job a chance for at least 90 days.

“I wanted to know everything there was to know about Goodwill. I wanted to try some of everything. Everybody was very supportive – the supervisors – they gave me a chance. I’ve learned a lot from each and every one of them,” she explained to News 2.

Photo: WKRN
Photo: WKRN

One of her supervisors is John Wenger. He raves about her management style.

“She’s calm. She wants everybody to get the job done. She wants everybody to do the job right, but she stays calm no matter what the situation,” he said.

Theresa was a natural leader and was promoted to assistant production supervisor in January 2015.

Wenger points out she is always smiling, and nothing can seem to get her down – not even a stage II breast cancer diagnosis.

Theresa, now 50, was diagnosed last spring and had to undergo debilitating chemo treatments.

But Wenger says she still showed up.

“You could tell she was in pain when she was at work. She would call in the morning and say, ‘I’m not going to come in. I’m hurting so much.’ She would come in later in the day, and I would ask her, ‘Why are you here?’ She says, ‘Well, if I stay at home I’m just going to think about it. If I come to work, I can be around people that I like being around and it just kind of makes the pain go away.’”

Theresa says some of her strength came from the support she found at Goodwill.

“I come to work every day and I see the struggles that people are going through. I hear the stories, and that helped me a lot. It really did,” she said.

Now, Theresa has a clean bill of health, and she told News 2 that along with her co-workers and family, her main source of strength, is simple.

“I pray a lot. I pray a lot,” she explained.

News 2 asked Theresa where she would be today if she never gave Goodwill a chance to help her, and she said she “dare not think about that.”

For more information on how to donate to Goodwill or for job information, click here.

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