Family health issues afflicting job seekers

Thursday, January 10, 2013

By Clint Confehr

Senior Staff Writer

Relatives' health problems were mentioned by some of the people applying for work during a recent job fair at Goodwill's Career Solutions office at The Acres shopping center.

Shelby Harvey, 19, of Lewisburg has been unemployed for nearly seven months, although she almost landed a regular, full-time job in Spring Hill, she said while waiting to be interviewed Dec. 27.

"I took a test in the second week of training" at a call center serving various businesses, she said. "But I failed the test by one point."

So she went to stay with her aunt, who'd just had surgery and was recuperating at home. Five days passed before Harvey had to go to her own home, where she retrieved a telephone answering machine message from TRG.

"'We want you to come work for us because you tried so hard,'" Harvey said, quoting the TRG employee who'd left the message several days earlier.

As a result of the delay, she was passed over by another applicant, she said.

During her training period in Spring Hill, Harvey answered phone calls from people having trouble with their home computer.

Goodwill's Career Solutions job fair was conducted for Phoenix-based Christian Brands, which moved its call center to Lewisburg's I-65 Commerce Park several years ago. Christian Brands also moved its warehouse here and, subsequently, acquired businesses that make jewelry, home decorating accents with religious themes, and candles.

"I know they make candles and bookmarks and Bible covers," Harvey said. "I have friends who work out there. I've been trying to get on out there for a year now."

Harvey is a 2011 graduate of Marshall County High School.

William Cody, 28, of Belfast Road, said he "moved here because I'm taking care of my dying father. He used to live in Chapel Hill."

Born in Fairfax, Va., Cody worked for Commonwealth Cat Rescue for about four years. Ironically, he says, "I took care of 86 puppies" at the animal shelter where "there were probably 100 cats" on any given day.

Cody said he's been unemployed since he moved here five months ago.

He said his 65-year-old father has three kinds of cancer, a severe throat malady, hepatitis C, and an imploded hernia. Cody also said his father is a military veteran of Vietnam, Panama and Desert Storm I.

Also unemployed was Justin Sharp, 26, of Colburn Drive, who was a construction worker until about seven weeks ago when, he says, "They just quit calling." He's got some carpentry training and says he's been remodeling homes in Brentwood, Belle Meade and Bellvue.

Another carpenter, Kathryn Lane, 54, just moved to Lewisburg from Clarksville. She says she's managed stores and has been unemployed since March.

"I'll take anything that's available," Lane said. "I'd shovel snow f I had to, to make money.

"If anybody has a job available, they can get to me through the Goodwill Career Solutions."