SARASOTA/BRADENTON, FL – A standout Goodwill team member was recently given a special surprise: Christmas gifts, a Tampa Bay Bucs experience and a certificate for a fully-cooked dinner by the Adams and Reese Sarasota office’s HUGS Program. This is the 27th year of the Adams and Reese HUGS community service and philanthropic program – HUGS stands for Hope, Understanding, Giving and Support and is the holiday charitable initiative through which the firm donates time, financial resources and assistance to more than 200 organizations throughout its service area.
Goodwill employee Leonzo Gonzalez is married to Chrystal and they have two children, Ian and Shaylien. In 2015, Gonzalez was chosen by Goodwill as its Employee of the Year because of his dedicated work ethic, his belief in Goodwill’s mission of changing lives through the power of work, and his own personal successes after tragedy struck 10 years ago. Gonzalez, who was severely injured when he was hit by a drunk driver, is completely blind. He has worked for Goodwill for more than three years, getting back on his feet and, once again, supporting his family through full-time employment.
“Giving back isn’t something we have to do, it’s something we believe we should do, something we need to do. We recognize that this can be a really difficult time of the year – not every family has the resources to buy presents and a big meal,” said Jason Gaskill, Adams and Reese LLP Sarasota Partner in Charge. “Our team stepped up and made this a great Christmas for Leonzo and his family. We have all been inspired by his story, and we appreciate Goodwill for giving him the opportunity to become self-sufficient again.”
Not only was the Gonzalez family given clothing, games, gift cards and a fully-cooked dinner, they were also given 50-yard line tickets for a Bucs game, a signed football and jerseys, and a gift card from the Bucs wide receivers.
“We are absolutely blown away by the generosity of Adams and Reese LLP and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for helping to make this the best Christmas ever for Leonzo and his family. Adams and Reese is a model of corporate social responsibility, always looking for ways that they can give back to the community,” said Veronica Brandon Miller, Goodwill Manasota Foundation vice president. “Even when people are employed, Christmas can be too extravagant an expense for some families and that strikes a chord with businesses such as Adams and Reese. We can’t thank them enough for reaching out to touch the lives of those in need in our community.”
For its ongoing generosity and partnership, Goodwill honored Adams and Reese LLP as the “Company of the Year” during its 2014 Ambassador Recognition Luncheon.
About Goodwill Manasota
Goodwill Manasota is an industry-leading, 501(c)(3), not-for-profit organization that changes lives through the power of work. With the sales of donated goods and philanthropic donations, Goodwill is able to assist people with disabilities and other barriers to employment by providing job skills training and employment opportunities. In 2014, Goodwill Manasota served more than 16,000 people, placed 680 people in jobs and assisted 520 veterans as they reintegrated back into the civilian workforce. Goodwill Manasota’s economic impact back to the community is worth $81.3 million. Goodwill is one of the pioneers of the reduce-reuse-recycle movement and this past year diverted 39 million pounds out of the landfill. We accomplish our mission through a network of Good Neighbor Centers in Sarasota, Manatee, Hardee and DeSoto counties and our Mission Development Services (MDS) around North America. Goodwill Manasota is accountable to a local Board of Directors. Goodwill Manasota in essence belongs to this community, and is not owned by any individual or company. For more information, visit www.experiencegoodwill.org.