August 23 was an exciting day for Goodwill Industries of Central Oklahoma. Not only were we featured in a two-page spread in The Oklahoman’s Life & Style section of the paper; we also had the honor of presenting on behalf of United Way of Central Oklahoma to the employees at The Oklahoman as the kick-off to their employee pledge drive.
At the kick-off, Mark Barth, President & CEO of GICO, gave a rousing speech that focused on a story that ties Goodwill inextricably to The Oklahoman. After some research, we found out that the late E.K. Gaylord, original owner and publisher of The Oklahoman, was also integral to bringing Goodwill Industries to central Oklahoma.
Goodwill was founded by Edgar J. Helms in 1923 and, in 1936, Mr. Gaylord sent one of his best journalists, Edith Johnson, to Ohio and Missouri to observe the Goodwill operations in those states. Ms. Johnson returned with a glowing report of the Goodwill Industries model and advised Mr. Gaylord to bring the concept to central Oklahoma. Ms. Johnson, who was a member of the Journalism Hall of Fame, was one of five people to sign the Articles of Incorporation for the first Oklahoma Goodwill that same year.
Also during the kick-off event for The Oklahoman’s United Way campaign, one of Goodwill’s most devoted long-term janitorial employees, James Gay, spoke briefly about his experiences as a Goodwill employee and how Goodwill has helped him achieve independence and a good work ethic.