My Goodwill Story: Herman Meeks

Herman Meeks, Store Manager of our Shelby store, has been with Goodwill since 2015. Despite challenges in his life, he has achieved redemption with Goodwill. Herman is truly dedicated to this organization; so much so that his friends call him “Mr. Goodwill.”

“On July 23, 2015, I was released from prison after serving 12 years. After my release, I was living in a halfway house and looking for employment. I was having a heck of a time just finding somebody to employ me. Someone told me, ‘You need to go to Goodwill, because I see you’re serious about getting a job.’ So, I took their advice,” Herman said.  

Herman visited Goodwill looking for a warehouse job, but got connected with Verona Hendricks, who encouraged him to take a position in the store.

“I ran the warehouse for seven years during my time in the penitentiary, so I was highly skilled. But Verona told me, ‘You have such an infectious personality, your smile is bright; and we don’t need that to be in the back of a warehouse.’”  

From there, Herman received a part-time position working at the Freedom Drive Outlet, now known as Second Editions, working under James Autry.

“James saw my hard work, and he encouraged me. His exact words were, ‘I’ve been where you’ve come from, and I understand what you’re going through. But what I want you to understand is this organization will do for you what they did for me, if you put 100% into it.’ And it was so profound, what he said at that moment, that it kind of blew me away,” Herman said.  

Herman was put in charge of electrical and mechanical at the outlet, and improved sales by 38 percent; also helping the store achieve $2 million in sales. Shortly after, he was able to secure a full-time position working at the Rock Hill store as a Donation Material Handler. While there, he grew in his management skills under the supervision of Chauncey Martin.  

“I always tell people that James sold me on Goodwill and Chauncey built me up and equipped me for management. To this day, when Chauncey and James are in the same room, they argue about who is responsible for my success,” Herman laughs. “And I tell them, ‘both of you are.’”   

Herman was promoted to the Store Manager position at our Rock Hill store, then to Floating Assistant Manager. De’Andre Jones and Jeff Bise were instrumental in his success moving up the ladder.

“De’Andre challenged me and gave me goals; and Jeff took me under his wing and turned me into a Store Manager,” Herman said.  

Eventually, Herman became the Store Manager of the Shelby store, and he oversaw the huge store relocation that occurred in August.

“At first, I was very skeptical – it was a bigger store that would require more money and more people. But as I saw the store come together, I was giddy. Then we opened the store, and the success was just unbelievable. It was meant to be,” he emphasized. 

Today, Herman uses his story to pour into everyone around him – his store team members, his customers and anyone else he interacts with.

“I share my story with people as often as I can, because you just never know how impactful your story can be to somebody else,” he stated.

At Goodwill, we envision a community where equitable access to career opportunities is available for all – and Herman’s story embodies the Goodwill mission.

“What I love most about working for Goodwill is the camaraderie. Everybody here genuinely believes in the mission; and the mission directly ties right back into me. Today, I own my own home; I have two cars; I have plenty of money saved. I’m just blessed beyond measure.” 

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