Champions Tribute award winners


Pamela McAbee

Lloyd Auten Achiever of the Year

When a new organization took over Pamela McAbee’s former company in 2015, she was shocked to find herself without a job. After 17 years working as a paramedic, she was lost and felt that she had nowhere to turn. Then, a shopping trip with her mother took Pam to Goodwill and into a Job Connection, where she enrolled in and completed Goodwill’s Certified Nurse Aide training program. She also earned additional healthcare certifications, and soon after she found employment as an autotransfusionist. Her career is thriving, and so is she. Pam recently married the love of her life and could not be happier.


Matt Allen

Ralph Walker Graduate of the Year

Transportation. Background. Long-term unemployment. Matt Allen faced his share of barriers as he prepared to reenter the workforce after caring for his ailing father for several years. However, Matt saw an opportunity in Goodwill’s Advanced Manufacturing training program, and he embraced it. He earned his manufacturing certification and immediately went into CNC training to earn additional credentials, eventually securing a stable, well-paid position as an Assembler. Now, he’s even training other employees.


Julie Nelson

William Wylie Job Connection Success

Julie Nelson knows firsthand how one or two choices can have devastating, lasting effects. She also knows the opposite can be true. In March 2016, she visited Goodwill’s Berea Job Connection with one objective in mind: find a job and begin the process of rebuilding her life. Julie was relentless, refusing to let the obstacles in her way keep her from being successful. And successful, she is. Today, Julie is gainfully employed, confident and financially stable. She’s even looking forward to reuniting with her daughters as a result.


Taciyona Duckett

James E. Jones Healthcare Excellence Award

Taciyona Duckett is a young woman on a mission and with a plan for her life: military service, college and eventually a career as a pediatric nurse. But to get where she is now, she had to reach a turning point and make the decision to do something positive with her life. She started by enrolling in Goodwill’s WIOA program for youth ages 18-24. After improving her reading and math skills, Taciyona enrolled in Goodwill’s Certified Nurse Aide training program, launching the healthcare career that has always been her dream.


MS Companies

Bill Hummers Employer of the Year Award

An employer willing to give people a chance is just as important as an employee’s willingness to work hard and persevere. For Goodwill jobseekers, MS Companies offers more than just employment; they offer opportunity. Over the last year, more than 150 people got a call inviting them to work with MS Companies. Each call marked the beginning of a career with a company committed to investing in its associates and helping them achieve a stable, successful career.


Thomas & Vivian Wong

Goodwill Champion Award

Generosity and a genuine love for their community are only two of the attributes that make Thomas and Vivian Wong Champions for Goodwill — and for all of South Carolina. Thomas and Vivian actively seek out opportunities to give, always hoping to make a true difference in someone else’s life. From frequent, sizable gifts of merchandise to making connections between Goodwill and other community leaders, the Wongs have repeatedly demonstrated their commitment to Goodwill’s mission of helping people become independent through employment.