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Herman Barnes: 80 and still serving his community


“Aw, great day to be alive man. Alright, thank you. Stay well,” saysHerman Barnes.

Herman Barnes is 80 years old and still working accepting donations at the south Jackson goodwill. Before working at goodwill Mr. Barnes worked for thirty-five years in law enforcement outside of St. Louis Missouri. He was police chief twice during his time. After retiring from law enforcement Mr. Barnes moved to Jackson and became a teacher at northside high school. After teaching for six years Mr. Barnes retired due to the pandemic. Mr. Barnes didn’t stay retired too long though, he quickly realized he wanted to get out of the house and back to work.

“I thought, within me that there was enough life left that I could do some good with the store, with the company, with the employees, with the customers,” says Herman Barnes.

Mr. Barnes sees his job as an opportunity to make an impact on those that he encounters, “first thing is thank you, good to see you today. Make sure that I greet the people who are giving with a smile, with a courtesy interaction...I have a purpose for being here and I know what that purpose is because I know what my job functions are, so yeah I enjoy that part.”

Goodwill employee Chris Fletcher describes Mr.Barnes as a hard worker and a joy to be around, “Mr. Barnes is a passionate and dedicated employee here at the south Jackson goodwill store. And you know he’s been a real asset to the store particularly in his relationships with donors. A lot of doners that come through here already familiar with Mr. Barnes, they are happy to see him. You can just tell he has that repour with our donors that make them know their donations are appreciated and will find a good home here at goodwill.”

Mr.Barnes knows that he can’t do everything he used to but he loves his job , “I like what I do, sometimes it's hard and I chat with the young guys, I can’t push that tub as fast as they can and I’m not gonna try, that’s stupid.”

Mr.Barnes continues to meet every doner with a smile and an encouraging word.

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