Unemployed and recently released from prison, Kevin Benford came to Austin Free-Net in December to get assistance looking for a job in the transportation industry. A friend referred him to our free employment and digital services at the DeWitty Center.
When Kevin visited AFN, he had two goals. In the short term, he wanted to find a financially stable job that required a commercial driver’s license and would help pay for housing. His future dream is to create an independent trucking business. He has already written an extensive business plan.
Despite Kevin’s excitement about the future and his plans, he had a couple of obstacles to overcome. Fortunately for him, he met one of AFN’s newest staff members, Vanessa Burnette and she was able to guide him through his journey. First, she helped him study for his commercial driver’s license (CDL) by printing information that can now be used by future clients. Kevin successfully attained his CDL, but he had one more obstacle in his path. He did not have the funds needed to pay for the next requirement — a physical exam.
“After talking with Kevin and reading his business plan, I was touched by his determination to succeed and desire to help others turn their lives around,” said Vanessa. She decided to see how she could help him reach his goal. With permission from the AFN management team, a collection jar was set up for Kevin. Within a week, anonymous donors at the DeWitty Center helped raise enough money for the exam. When Vanessa presented the money to Kevin a week later he was shocked and humbled by the donation. “I truly feel blessed. I don’t have family here and my mother passed not too long ago. Talking with Vanessa.. it was great to have someone in my corner. Someone to listen to me,” said Kevin.
Thanks to the support of AFN and “angel donors”, Kevin is now employed full time with a local family owned company, Sheridan Environmental. Within a short period of time, he has been promoted from materials picker, heavy equipment operator and now truck driver. He now also has housing thanks to additional support from the company. “I am surrounded by great people and I am looking forward to the future with the company.”
If you would like to help many more people like Kevin, make a donation or volunteer your services to Austin Free-Net. You can make a difference.