From The Fields, A Dream

Pursuing the American Dream is often like a winding road filled with detours, traffic jams, and roadblocks. For some, these obstacles present a fork in the road: proceed with determination or give up. Former Proteus, Inc. customer Angel Perez is proof that it doesn't matter how long it takes, dreams to come true. "When I was working out in the fields, I was always thinking about having my own trucking business," Perez said. "So I'm thankful for Maria Macedo and Proteus for giving me a chance and for the opportunities that are at our reach. I'm so really happy right now."

Perez was one of three Proteus, Inc. nominated recipients to win the coveted 2017 National Farmworker Job Program (NFJP) Outstanding Seasonal Farmworker award. For Perez, the news of the award was admittedly emotional. After almost ten years of picking, pruning, and tying every fruit up and down the valley, being recognized as the National Seasonal Farmworker will do that to you. But the climb to success Perez currently enjoys wasn't without difficulty. 

In October 2010, Perez decided to take his dream of owning his own trucking company into action. Proteus, Inc. Case Manager Maria Macedo, who helped nominate Perez for the award, remembers his long and twisting plight. As the sole provider for his family of six, Perez's path had many hardships. Though Proteus could only cover the $4,000 cost for United Truck Driving School, he also needed additional resources because he was unemployed. The house payments, utility bills, and insurance notes began to default. Nevertheless, with his heart set on his goal, Perez again turned to Proteus, where he could receive the financial assistance he needed. Perez eventually finished his training, but one final roadblock tried to dissuade him from his goal.

When Perez went to take the Class A License Test, he could not pass the vision portion of the test. According to Macedo, while working in the fields and with no health insurance, Perez had never had a physical before, so he never knew he needed glasses. Again, facing a financial burden, Perez turned to Proteus for help. "He is very thankful for the opportunity and for everything we have done for him," Macedo said. "There was no way he was going to pay for the tuition, for the eyeglasses. He was unemployed and falling behind. I'm just glad that he made it." Perez has more than made it. After getting his license, he landed his first job at Helados La Tapatia.

In 2011, he purchased his first diesel and opened A.P Transport LLC. Since then, he has purchased two more diesel, giving his company a fleet of three trucks. But Perez is not done dreaming. Within five years, he hopes to have a fleet of 10-15 diesel trucks and hopes his example proves that anything is possible. "Demonstrating to my children that if one day they want to have a business, that they can do it," Perez said. "Demonstrating to the Latinos that we can do it. So we have to dream and work hard; because that's the only way it's done."

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