Disabled Goodwill Workers Wow With Talents

By Julie Tam
|  Thursday, Jun 16, 2011  |  Updated 9:44 AM CDT
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An award-winning film shows abilities of the disabled.

Julie Tam

An award-winning film shows abilities of the disabled.

An award-winning film reveals the often hidden talents of disabled workers at Goodwill Industries. The public will get to watch For Once In My Life: The Spirit of Goodwill Band Thursday and Friday in Fort Worth, where Goodwill employee Daniel Spire will show his rare ability to perform on the piano.

Listening to Spire play the piano and watching his fingers fly across the keys, you'd never know he has a mental disability, has trouble speaking and learning, and doesn't know how to read music.

"I always play by my ear and the radio. I play Vanessa Carlton and Tears for Fears," said Spire. "I always love music."

His co-workers love hearing his music. Spire's is the kind of talent showcased in the movie, which features employees of Goodwill in Miami but tells the story of all talented Goodwill workers. Spire is an assembler, doing tasks like filling suitcases with clothing to test airport conveyor belts.

"One day Daniel was on his lunch break, and we had the grand piano out in the community room, and he sat down and just starting playing the most amazing song," said David Cox, senior vice president of retail sales and marketing. "I think that it really touches people to see that not only does he do a great job with Goodwill but he has this amazing talent on the side. A lot of times they can surprise you and outperform non-disabled individuals."

The City of Fort Worth's Human Relations Commission is sponsoring the screenings of this film to show the extraordinary abilities of the disabled.

Spire may not be able to express it, but his music tells the world not to judge people's abilities by looking at their disabilities.

There's a waiting list for Thursday night's showing of the film at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. The movie will play again Friday at 7 p.m. at the Fort Worth Central Library. To ensure seating, RSVP to fwhrc@FortWorthGov.org or call 817-392-7525.

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