George “Dick” Morgan quietly shuffles through the Goodwill store on Honore Avenue early on a Friday morning. The 90-year-old Goodwill image consultant is conducting one of his monthly inspections of the location and, for him, no detail is too small.
Dressed in a royal-blue company hat and blue button-down shirt, Morgan diligently walks up and down the aisles in the store as he runs through his checklist to ensure everything is on par with Goodwill’s image and mission. He’s just finished walking around the outside of the store, where he reports there were no stray shopping carts or debris. Now he’s inside, checking the restrooms, dressing rooms, signs and production areas to make sure everything is presentable and organized. He also checks to be sure the customers have pleasant music to listen to while they shop.
As he makes his rounds, his passion for his job — and the nonprofit — is evident. The focused expression on his face gives way to a smile as several employees notice him and say “hello.” His eyes light up, and he greets them with jokes and a wave. At the end of each monthly visit, Morgan adds a personal touch to the inspection by leaving behind an original poem to inspire the employees.
“I’ve been writing poetry for probably 60 years,” he says. “I like to be sure that I leave a proper impression when I leave each site. I remind them that the Lord is with them every moment of every day. I like being able to inspire the employees and friends that I have.”
Morgan began working for Goodwill in 1975, as manager of Sarasota’s lone store at the time, located at 7501 15th St. E. He says that, at one point, he was vice president, in charge of the Sarasota stores, until he moved to New Jersey for a few years. When he returned in 1990, Goodwill Manasota hired him in a new position as image consultant to best put his experience to use.
Each month, Morgan’s son, Richard, drives with him as he visits more than 40 stores and donation centers in the four-county area to maintain the organization’s image and show his appreciation for the donors and shoppers who help support its mission.
Just as important as his inspections are his interactions with the employees at each location. Shannon Lummert-Helmer, who manages the Honore location, says Morgan has a positive influence on many of her employees, including herself.
“People love him,” she says. “He’s sort of a father figure to many people here. His longevity with the company speaks for itself.”
With more than 30 years of experience with the nonprofit, he says he relates to Goodwill’s mission to help others, which he credits with his long and successful career.
“I love the idea of what they’re doing,” says Morgan. “They’re helping people who need it — the jobless, the homeless.”
Growing up helping his uncle herd sheep, Morgan says he learned the value of helping others at a young age.
“I loved to herd sheep,” he says. “Just as Jesus took care of his sheep, I loved to take care of mine, and it was a lesson to me that as I grew up, I should try to help anyone I could.”
Morgan says he enjoys seeing the impact Goodwill has not only on other people’s lives, but also on his own.
“I’m very grateful to have found Goodwill,” he says. “I seem to get a good welcome when I come around, and I try to leave inspiration with them when I leave.”
“I think that Dick brings an understanding and compassion, whereas some people are more direct. With his age and seniority with the company, he’s been there; he’s done it; he’s worked every position in the company, from store manager to standing up and ringing up customers. He has an understanding of everyone’s role in the store.”
— Shannon Lummert-Helmer, Honore Street store manager and team leader