From 1983 to 1991 Raymond Jones served in the communications field for the Navy. His role was to send encrypted messages from ship to shore, and he shared mess deck duty with his fellow service members, a requirement for anyone stationed on the ship. Whether he was encrypting content or buffing decks, Jones found value in all his military experience. “The paid education and travel opportunities in the Navy really appealed to me,” he says. “I’ve been to some exotic places.” Indeed, his time in the service took him to France, Spain, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Israel, among other places.

A Louisiana man at heart (Jones was born in Laurel, Mississippi, but was raised in Lake Charles, LA, near New Orleans) he is a gumbo and étouffée aficionado, as well as an LSU Tigers and New Orleans Saints sports fan. When his time in the military ended, though, Atlanta’s veteran benefits were more extensive than the ones available in his hometown. “The [Office of Veterans Affairs] VA at Ft. McPherson has hospitals, facilities and resources,” Jones says. “Atlanta also has jobs. Opportunity is here if you want it.” Referred by a VA counselor to Goodwill of North Georgia’s First Choice: Veterans program, he quickly got to work looking for a job that fit the skills he developed during his military service.

After he graduated from Goodwill’s training program, Jones found a great job match through Goodwill Industries of North Georgia in the organization’s facility services department. He joined the team as a floor technician, helping to maintain the sprawling Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Clifton campus. He focuses on floor maintenance, handling tasks like daily burnishing in his building’s cafeteria and elevator landings. “Goodwill was a Godsend for me,” says Jones. “I like what they have in place to support you.” Nearly four years into his role Jones recommends Goodwill as a resource to others. As committed to service now as he was in the military, Jones is grateful to continue giving back.