Chipley center helps hundreds with jobs, self-esteem

Published: Thursday, October 17, 2013 at 04:18 PM.

CHIPLEY — For most of us, our job is more than just work — it’s a large part of how we define ourselves, who we are.

For Sunny Hills resident Virginia Lee Sword, having a job also means having a reason to get out among people and live her life once again.

“It was about much more than just getting a job, it was about getting my self back,” Sword said during an interview on Thursday at the Goodwill Industries -Big Bend Inc. Career Training Center in Chipley.

Sword had suffered a horse-riding injury that left her in a coma for two months in 1998, and a few years later she was involved in a nearly fatal car wreck that left her needing reconstructive facial surgery.

Her prolonged time spent on a respirator in the hospital left her with a whisper of a voice and chronic respiratory problems — and the traumatic ordeals left her unable to work for years.

“Lee was referred to the Job Club by her vocational rehabilitation,” Employment Specialist CeCe Richards said. “When she got her, she had a bit of an attitude, but after a while, she was leading the club meetings.”

“When I first came I just sat over in that corner,” Sword admits, “I wasn’t going to do anything. I just wanted to stay home on my couch with my dog.”

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