Bonnie Blaydes - 2019 Employee of the Year, Eielson Air Force Base, Fairbanks, Alaska

Global Connections to Employment's Employee of the Year Bonnie Blaydes poses in kitchen

Bonnie ended up with an abusive spouse, but experienced love for the first time when she gave birth to a baby boy. She wanted to get off the rollercoaster. Unfortunately, the addiction was too strong, and she was arrested and sent to a behavioral health facility. While there, she learned about God and began to make changes. The missing link was a job. She couldn’t read or write well which made the application process quite a challenge. Case workers with the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation discovered Bonnie’s learning disability and taught her reading, writing and basic job skills.  Then someone at her church told her about Global Connections to Employment (GCE). Today, Bonnie is a food services shift leader for GCE at the Eielson Air Force Base in Fairbanks Alaska. “I love my new life, and I’m never going back,” she says. She finds strength in helping others. She speaks about addiction awareness to audiences at schools, churches and detox centers. She lets people know where to attend Narcotics Anonymous (NA) or Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings and how to use daily thoughts of gratitude as a way to heal. She reminds people that they are not alone. Bonnie also serves as a board member at the Bread Line, a nonprofit organization than feeds the hungry, and she volunteers at the Stone Soup Café. “Bonnie lifts up all of us with her positive outlook and encouragement,” said Stephen Sandquist, project manager. “Regardless of her tough life challenges, she uses her gifts to help countless others.”