Goodwill bakery serves cookies and confidence to veterans

It’s the sweet smell of success in Bettendorf, Iowa.

That’s where Charles Logan and Robert Moore represent two of the state’s newest jobs.  They’re mixing dough for Goodwill Great Cookies. It’s putting disadvantaged veterans back to work.

“It’s a way for them to get out,” said Logan, 57, a Vietnam-era veteran. “If we weren’t there, they wouldn’t have anywhere to go.”

That explains the cheers and smiles during Friday’s ribbon cutting ceremony.

The business is starting small with big dreams. The staff of four will bake and sell super-sized monster cookies.  Goodwill stores across eastern Iowa will sell them for about $1.50.

“They’ve still got the discipline, the loyalty, integrity and hard work that they learned in the service,” said Col. Ken Rizer, who now serves as Goodwill’s senior vice president of operations. “They’re also fantastic workers.”

The monster cookies are really designed to scare up some jobs.  They come with a slogan: “Eat a cookie — Change a life.”

Faculty and students at the University of Iowa and Iowa State helped to design the business plan for the bakery.  Organizers hope to cycle veterans through the program until they find other jobs in the community.

These guys can mix enough dough to make 800 cookies each day. But it’s more than just production.  It’s also about possibilities.

For these veterans, it’s a fresh start at life, one cookie at a time.

“Being a part of that really makes a difference to me,” said Logan, who bounced back from tough times. “I want to do my part.”

This bakery is creating hope out of hard work.  They want to sell in supermarkets soon, and hope to one day take the concept coast-to-coast.

“Make our veterans’ lives better,” Logan concluded. “This is helping me and other veterans at the same time.”

A tribute to those who served — now serving sweet treats.