SAN ANTONIO - Goodwill San Antonio is known for its thrift stores, but the nonprofit organization also aids the U.S. Department of Defense.
The agency has contracts with the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force to digitize medical records for retired veterans, ultimately speeding up the process for medical claims.
The employees at the Goodwill San Antonio contract services facility on Nacogdoches Road are part of a federal program called AbilityOne. The program helps nonprofit agencies provide employment for people who are blind or have severe disabilities.
Monday morning, U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-San Antonio) visited the center to meet with employees and take a tour. Castro is considered an "AbilityOne Champion," a title given to federal leaders who have demonstrated support for the program.
He applauded the efforts by Goodwill in not only helping the military, but hiring veterans. Goodwill said veterans make up 20 percent of its workforce, that's 200 out of 1,400 employees.
"This is incredible work that Goodwill industries is doing through the AbilityOne program and employing nearly 300 San Antonians with disabilities to support the work of the Department of Defense and our veterans," said Castro.
"Everybody deserves a chance to go to work and earn a living in life. Goodwill has stepped up and made sure for so many people, that life is possible," he said.
KENS 5 talked to Army veteran Shawn Herring, who used to be a radiology technician. He applied at Goodwill four years ago.
"Not everything we do translates to the civilian sector, even people who are in a well-paying sector in radiology as I was," said Herring.
"I only intended to be here for a year to get the experience, and then transition into a government job. I've enjoyed it so much, I love the people I work with and I have such terrific bosses," said Herring.
Goodwill San Antonio also helps people in the community get jobs at other businesses.
Penny Benavidez, Goodwill San Antonio director of marketing and public relations, said by the end of this year, the agency will have helped 3,000 people get jobs and train 450 people through its Good Careers Academies.