Success Stories

Eval Center helps consumer achieve goals

Jacob Smith attended the Evaluation Center in the summer of 2016. He was referred for weakness in the left side of his body and impaired balance following a cerebrovascular accident (CVA), the medical term for a stroke. He also has chronic kidney disease and receives dialysis treatment three days per week.

Since completing the four-week evaluation, Smith has continued to receive services as a community consumer.

From consumer to employee

When Tara Mae Jackson came to VR, she did not like to socialize with others. Her severe anxiety made it difficult to walk to the end of her driveway to get the mail. She credits VR with helping her learn to “come out of her shell” and self-advocate. In addition to job readiness training, VR also helped her obtain her driver’s license, GED, and Career Readiness Certificate.

Recovery is focus of Palmetto Center

Substance use disorder is a life-limiting and often life-destroying disability. Services provided at VR's Palmetto Center can help guide individuals through the emotional and physical aspects of confronting an addiction so that they can replace it with a rewarding lifestyle.

“We help our consumers understand how their whole body is affected by substance use disorder,” says Helene Goldsmith, Supervisor at Palmetto Center.

Former consumer named Associate of the Month

Qwavez Henderson, a former VR consumer, was recognized as Associate of the Month for January 2019 at Embassy Suites by Hilton Greenville Golf Resort & Conference Center. Qwavez has been a complimentary breakfast utility attendant for Embassy Suites since May 2018 and has excelled in many different areas of his job.

VR consumers become forklift operators at Rite Aid Distribution Center in Spartanburg

After graduating from high school in May 2018, Mikayla Pucetas wanted to enter the workforce but needed some assistance. In September, she attended job preparedness classes at VR’s Spartanburg Training Center. During this time she expressed interest in fork lift training, which she enthusiastically completed. She was hired by the Rite Aid Distribution Center in November and continues to be very happy and successful in her role. Mikayla is currently being cross-trained to work in various areas of the distribution center.

VR consumer becomes VR employee

Joan Phillips started her new position as a Job Coach at VR's Charleston office on April 22, 2019. A former special needs teacher at Brentwood Middle and Burke High Schools, Phillips was a VR consumer participating in the Training Center when she learned that the position was available. Her prior experience in the field of special education made her an excellent fit for the role.

VR consumers meet lieutenant governor during visit to Worksman Cycles

Brothers Shawn and Ray Hernandez were delighted to meet and have their picture taken with Lieutenant Governor Pamela Evette when she toured the Worksman Cycles factory in Conway on March 22, 2019. Shawn and Ray are two of nearly 20 VR consumers employed at Worksman in positions that include assembly, warehousing, painting, welding and office work.

Welder returns to work with VR help

Felipe Gallegos came to VR’s Bryant Center in Lyman in March 2017, hoping to receive services and assistance that could help him return to work after a traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Felipe had a successful career as a welder at Spartanburg Steel. He made a good living, and provided a loving home for his wife, Consuelo, and their children. Felipe is also close to his brother, and they worked together raising and breaking horses.

In late 2016, Felipe and his brother were working with a horse that had not yet been ridden. Felipe later explained that he had “an argument with a horse, and I lost.” The horse kicked the left side of Felipe’s head, resulting in a skull fracture and a brain bleed (stroke), which left Felipe in a coma for more than six weeks.

Job tryout leads to employment for GED graduate

After completing his GED, consumer Dylan Moring excelled in the Camden Training Center. He learned valuable skills such as the importance of quality, how to be more productive, and how to work in a team environment. Dylan was then offered an opportunity to participate in a job tryout at Roy’s Wood Products, where he demonstrated that he would be a valuable employee. After completing the job tryout, he was hired as a full-time cabinet maker. We are very happy for Dylan and look forward to seeing his continued success.

Commitment leads to new beginning

Vernelle Gettie is not afraid of hard work. At the age of 8, she began spending the daylight hours after school in the fields of Saluda County picking cotton and peaches alongside her grandmother.

At 18, when most teens are looking for their first job, Vernelle, with ten years of work experience, became a mother. She dropped out of her rural high school to take a job as a housekeeper in an Aiken hotel, which required her to make a daily sixty-mile commute. She kept that routine for five years, until she decided to move to Detroit to live with family. The Motor City offered many opportunities, and Vernelle found employment in the food service and environmental service industries. However, she discovered that the work she most enjoyed was at a facility that served residents with disabilities.

Earning a CDL leads to life-changing opportunity

Lucinda Blend, a driver for Clemson Area Transit (CATbus), was following her usual route through Clemson University campus on January 19, 2018 when she began to smell an electrical aroma in the bus. As she reached for the radio to advise headquarters, a passenger in the back of the bus yelled “Fire!”

Broadcasting success in Seneca

Maricus Lewis’s success story begins in 2012 when he was referred to VR’s Seneca office for services by the School District of Oconee County. His dream was to become a radio broadcaster and producer.

After graduating from Seneca High School, Maricus  attended Tri-County Technical College to pursue a degree in radio communications. At Tri-County Technical College Maricus studied hard and joined the school radio station. However, he did not have transportation of his own and had to rely on friends, family, and public transportation to get to and from school.

Hard work leads to success as welding instructor

When Eric Scriven was referred to the Walterboro VR Office by Colleton County Probation and Parole Services, he was at a turning point. He was in jail due to probation revocation and a court requirement to attend inpatient treatment for substance abuse. With a long criminal history and an even longer history of drug use, Sciven knew he needed help to overcome his additions and achieve his desire to obtain competitive employment.

Business networking and VR teamwork lead to success

Brian Denny didn’t think he could go back to work after he sustained a high level spinal cord injury (C3-C4).

Unable to move his upper or lower body, Brian uses a power wheelchair that he manipulates by blowing into a straw-like device called a sip and puff. It takes patience and determination, something that Brian has in great supply.