Hendersonville Widow Finds Joy, Family at Goodwill

(Photo: Submitted by Goodwill)

After Betty Sadler and her husband of 36 years, James, retired, they spent eight glorious years traveling around the country.

They visited dozens of states and enjoyed every day together. When they weren’t traveling, they cared for ailing neighbors or cooked meals for local police and firefighters.

In April 2015, James Sadler was diagnosed with cancer. He died two weeks later. Betty Sadler was devastated.

For six months, she stayed mostly to herself in their Hendersonville home. Then one day, a friend asked her to go shopping at the local Goodwill and she agreed.

At Goodwill, Sadler noticed a sign that said the nonprofit was hiring.

“I wasn’t looking for work, but it just hit me: ‘That’s what I need to be doing. I need to help somebody else,'” she recalled. “I couldn’t just sit around the house anymore.”

While her friend shopped, Sadler filled out an application. Within a week, she was interviewed and hired as a retail associate.

Sadler poured all her energy and enthusiasm into the job. Store manager Anna Lindsey said Sadler instantly became part of the team, mastering tasks that needed to be done in many areas of the store while becoming a favorite of customers and co-workers.

“Whatever she can do to bring joy to someone else, she does that,” Lindsey said. ‘It’s like she owns the Goodwill. She cares about this place like it was her own.”

Lindsey mentioned a time when Sadler discovered that a fellow team member had been struggling financially and had nothing to eat for lunch. When her shift ended, Sadler went home, cooked a full meal, returned to Goodwill and quietly gave it to the employee outside the store.

Sadler said she finds it rewarding to help other people, and she also enjoys staying busy.

“This job has been a lifesaver for me,” she said. “I was not ready to give up and sit in a rocking chair.”

After her husband’s death, Betty learned that in his final days he had left her an amazing gift that would help her through her grief.

He arranged and paid for Sadler to take a week’s vacation every month for a year with a local seniors group. She has now visited every state except Hawaii.

Only one thing has ever interrupted her vacation schedule. At Thanksgiving, Sadler came home from vacation early. She got up at 4:30 a.m. and cooked dressing, sweet potato casserole, potato salad, several cakes and a pie, which she delivered to Goodwill and shared with her co-workers. Then, she went back out on vacation.

“We had the best dinner,” she said. “I love my job, and I love being with my co-workers. I can’t wait to go back in.”

For more information about Goodwill, visit giveit2goodwill.org.