Goodwill Ambassador Bill Robertson
Goodwill was one of the first organizations to respond to the multitude of challenges faced by veterans returning home. Locally – Goodwill Manasota created a Veterans Service Program to enhance integration into the community while honoring our veterans with the appropriate respect for their service to our country.
With the help of Goodwill Ambassadors like community leader Bill Robertson, CEO of the Kirk Pinkerton Law Firm, Goodwill is able to reach and provide jobs and financial assistance for more veterans in need. This partnership started a little over a year ago when Goodwill’s Veterans Services was featured on Robertson’s radio show, Let’s Talk Law with Bill Robertson, which airs on WSRQ’s 98.9 FM, 106.9 FM and 1220 AM stations.
“The show began around two and a half years ago and airs every Friday from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.,” Robertson said. “The show is a platform that allows me to talk about my personal injury practice, the other areas of practice offered by our firm, and a wide range of other timely topics such as ‘Stand Your Ground.’ We cover insurance law, injuries that occur in accidents, and bring in medical experts to discuss cause and treatment of injuries.”
On the last Friday of each month, Robertson dedicates a segment of his show to veterans, called Helping Our Heroes.
“It’s hard for veterans to ask for help, so we reached to Goodwill’s Veterans Services Program to help us find and feature the veterans in need. We also invite veterans looking for employment to discuss their skill sets on air, and we bring area CEOs interested in hiring veterans to talk about their business and job opportunities on the show,” Robertson said.
The Goodwill Veterans Services Program is designed to ease the tran- sition back into non-military employment. The program has created a seamless case management system that supports each veteran’s unique strengths and addresses their needs regarding housing, family, education and other barriers.
After Robertson’s guests also became interested in supporting Goodwill and the veterans in need, a new initiative was created with the help of Steve Hall of Alltrust Insurance and Goodwill Manasota. That initiative, called SERV, stands for Special Emergency Resources for Veterans and helps vets obtain emergency funding for housing, education, food, transportation, health issues or training required to succeed in the workplace.
Veterans who qualify for immediate assistance through SERV must already be utilizing the services and case management provided by Goodwill Manasota’s Veterans Services Program.
Robertson, Hall, and several other concerned citizens contributed seed money from their own pockets to create the SERV fund. Bob Rosinsky, Goodwill Manasota’s President and CEO, said veterans must work with a case manager through Goodwill’s Veterans Services program to establish their legitimacy and the depth of their need. “There were two veterans we helped recently, Todd and Jessica Hughes, who have two kids,”
Rosinsky said. “Their house caught on fire and they lost everything, their pets and all of their belongings. We were able to utilize SERV funds to give them some immediate stability and help them get back on the right path.” Rosinsky added that the SERV fund has donated approximately $10,000 since its formation this year. “The donations made to Goodwill are tax-deductible. One hundred percent of the donation goes to the veteran.”
“We’re a full service law firm and have always been committed to community service. We have lawyers who focus their practice on estate planning, probate, corporate, tax, real estate, land use, family, employment, criminal, administrative,commercial litigation and represent numerous BP class action claimants. I handle personal injury, wrongful death and products liability claims,” Robertson said.
Robertson’s family also has an extensive military service history, which has further fueled his desire to aid veterans.
“Our family has always served veterans and that’s why I’m so passionate about what I do. So being a Goodwill Ambassador is very important to me because it allows me to have a greater impact in helping this community,” Robertson said. According to Rosinsky, “Through partnerships with people like Bill Robertson, we are able to find new and innovative ways to reach more veterans. We are proud to have Bill as a Goodwill Ambassador.” For more information about the SERV Initiative, visit experiencegoodwill.org and click on “Veterans Program.”