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Goodwill Mission Stories

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Bryon Riesch

It takes a truly remarkable person to turn the pain of a devastating accident into a lifetime of advocating for others and working toward finding a cure for paralysis. That person is Bryon Riesch.

More than 20 years ago, an accident left Bryon a quadriplegic, and changed the path of his life. Determined not to let his disability define his future, Bryon went on to graduate from Marquette University with a double major in information technology and marketing. Upon graduation, Bryon enrolled in Goodwill’s AbilITy Connection program, which offered mentoring, internships, scholarships and job placement services to students with disabilities who were interested in a career in information technology. With a strong mentor, Bryon’s career flourished, and Goodwill helped to provide him with a bridge from college to the workforce. Through AbilITy Connection, Bryon got his first professional job at Northwestern Mutual. Currently, Bryon is a successful Project Manager at R&R Insurance.

With the confidence that he found through his job and moved by the overwhelming support from his friends and family, Bryon established the Bryon Riesch Paralysis Foundation in 2001. Its goal is to help find a cure for paralysis through funding the latest in medical research and to provide assistance to those that suffer from neurological disorders. Most recently, the Bryon Riesch Paralysis Foundation committed $500,000 to Marquette University’s College of Health Sciences to support spinal cord research. Bryon knows that cures come in multiple forms, and he’s optimistic for the future of those living with paralysis.

Bryon Riesch

Bryon and his family have stayed connected to Goodwill over the years and continue to provide hope for the people Goodwill serves. His father Ken served on Goodwill’s Board of Directors for four years, and Bryon himself has been featured in articles and photos to help further the Goodwill mission. As Bryon says, “I am so hopeful for the future.”

Goodwill helped Bryon turn this tragedy into opportunity. While Goodwill’s programs and services have evolved over the years, our commitment to providing training, employment and supportive services for people with disabilities and disadvantages has continued to evolve and grow. Bryon is an amazing example of how belief in the Power of Work can transform lives.

“I’m hopeful for the future.” – Bryon

Mission Support Center
Tel: (414) 847-4200

James O. Wright Center forWork & Training
Tel: (414) 353-6400

Metropolitan Chicago -
Tel: (312) 994-1440