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Goodwill’s Veterans Services program manager Todd Hughes receives national honor

SARASOTA/BRADENTON, FL – Todd Hughes, Goodwill Manasota’s Veterans Services program manager, was proud to serve his country in the National Guard and during active duty in the U.S. Army. Now, through his work with Goodwill’s Veterans Services program as well as numerous volunteer endeavors, he strives to help fellow veterans with their reentry into civilian life. 

In recognition of Hughes’s leadership of the Veterans Services program as well as his extensive community service, he was recently recognized with the U.S. Department of Defense Seven Seals Award from the DOD's ESGR (Employer Support of the Guard & Reserve) program.  

Before the Pittsburgh Pirates' February 27 Spring Training game at LECOM Park, Hughes – along with several veteran-serving Manatee County employers – were honored during a ceremony that included the participation and recognition of City of Bradenton Mayor Gene Brown. 

"The Seven Seals Award is presented in recognition of significant individual or organizational achievement, initiative, or support that promotes and furthers the ESGR mission," said Rita M. Broadway, Florida Committee Chair for Department of Defense ESGR. "The recipients of this award demonstrate dedication and selfless service to enhance the lives of Reserve and National Guard service members and their families. This leads to a stronger military and a stronger national defense. Their efforts are truly making a difference in the community."

Goodwill’s Veterans Services program was launched in 2013 to help veterans reintegrate into their families, communities, and jobs. The program – which is staffed by veterans – provides comprehensive case management and vocational services, networking opportunities, and assistance in navigating the wide array of available social service programs.

Hughes joined the National Guard at the age of 17; two years later, he went on active duty. He was deployed to Iraq in 2004; during his tour of duty, he was badly injured when an improvised explosive device detonated. He completed his tour but has struggled with severe headaches in the years since due to a serious closed head injury as well as with PTSD. Despite his challenges, he used his GI Bill benefits to enroll at the University of South Florida, helped to launch and became the first administrator of the Veterans Program at USF Sarasota-Manatee, and was then invited to join the Veterans Services team at Goodwill Manasota in 2018.

At Goodwill, Hughes – accompanied by his devoted service dog, Ghost – is passionate about helping fellow veterans, frequently using personal connections and even personal time to make sure those who are struggling are getting the help they need. 

In addition to helping veterans through Goodwill Manasota, Hughes serves as Senior Vice Commander of the Disabled American Veterans Post 97, is a member of the Vietnam Brotherhood Alpha Company, volunteers with SRQ Vets and 941 Vets, is a certified peer mentor for the Wounded Warrior Project, and is a member of the program advisory committee for Everglades University. He is also a Chapter Service Officer for the DAV, meaning he is certified to help veterans with VA disability claims.


For his many contributions toward helping area veterans, Hughes was previously honored by the Sarasota County Veterans Commission with the John H. McLain Veteran of the Year Award in 2020.

ESGR is a Department of Defense office that develops and promotes supportive work environments for service members in the Reserve Components through outreach, recognition, and educational opportunities that increase awareness of applicable laws.  It also provides assistance in resolving conflicts between service members and their employers.

For more about Goodwill, visit or call 941-355-2721.

About Goodwill Manasota
Goodwill Manasota is an industry-leading 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that changes lives through the power of work. With philanthropic donations and revenue generated by the sales of donated goods, Goodwill is able to assist people with disabilities, veterans, seniors, and those with other barriers to employment by providing jobs, job skills training, and free career services. For more information or for a listing of locations, visit or call 941-355-2721.

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Media Contact : Sharon Kunkel

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