During the month of November, Goodwill Houston focuses on its veterans. Today we are featuring Gary, an Army veteran who started using drugs after he left the service. He was addicted to crack-cocaine and turned to crime. In 1990, he was convicted of three armed robberies. Initially, Gary was offered a lesser sentence, but refused to testify against his friends. As a result, he was handed the maximum sentence on all three counts – 99 years in prison plus two life sentences.
However, everything changed when Gary discovered faith. The first thing he did was get clean. He used his time behind bars to earn a master’s degree in theology and a Ph.D. in music theory.
After more than three decades behind bars, Gary was released from prison in early 2023. He was referred to Goodwill through the City of Houston’s Re-entry program—a community partnership which provides resources for ex-offenders.
He came to Goodwill’s River Oaks Career Center and enrolled in the Houston’s Veterans’ Program. Working closely with an Employment Specialist, Gary learned digital skills, financial education, computer training and job search assistance. He applied with Goodwill and was hired as a Dock Lead at the Goodwill Houston Long Point Outlet location where he serves as an example of the power of work in changing lives.