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|Cesar Rodriguez: Keeping faith and staying positive|
|El Lechero Elements - Herdsman spotlight|
|Written by El Lechero Editor Dario Martinez|
|Thursday, 10 May 2012 10:18|
Cesar Rodriguez, manager at Wreden Ranch, a dairy in Hanford, California, learned that in order to succeed, he would have to take his goals and make them happen of his own account.
Cesar first began working on dairies in California’s San Joaquin Valley taking care of calves, which transitioned to milking, moving cows, taking care of fresh cows and finally working as a breeder before taking the position of manager at this dairy.
At Wreden Ranch, 5,500 cows are milked three times a day. Cesar is in charge of making sure all the areas of the dairy are running well, in addition to making sure the dairy’s 44 employees always have a job.
Cesar knows firsthand about challenges, saying that facing challenges is what he likes most about his job. However, the obstacles he has faced in the past have not always been limited to his work on the dairy.
He explains that one of the challenges he faced was when he decided to enroll in a high school here in the U.S. when he was 33 years old. Although he had already finished high school in Mexico, Cesar wanted to graduate with a diploma from a high school in the U.S.
“Knowing that I graduated from a U.S. high school may not seem like a big deal, but it makes me feel better as a person,” Cesar says.
He says that being diagnosed with cancer was something that affected not only his work, but also his personal life and his family. “It felt like the world was falling down around me,” he says.
Cesar explains that if the cancer had reached his lymph nodes, he ran the risk of the cancer spreading all over his body. After five surgeries in less than two months, he says that the disease had taken its toll.
“Mentally, the cancer was killing me and, financially, it was worse because what little I had in savings was used up so I had to borrow a lot more just to keep up,” he says.
Despite all the obstacles faced while he was fighting cancer, Cesar says that his family’s unity had much to do in helping him overcome the disease. He says that his wife and children were right there with him when he needed them the most.
“Staying positive and keeping faith in God was what kept me going forward,” Cesar says. “Thanks to that I’m well and have now been diagnosed cancer-free for the past three years.”
Another challenge that Cesar faced ended up becoming one of his greatest achievements – becoming a U.S. citizen. He explains that the process took nearly 20 years.
“When I became a citizen, it was one of the biggest accomplishments in my life,” he says. “I had to prove that I wanted to be here, that I liked this country and that my family and I depended on it.”
Cesar says that Mexico gave him his parents, his siblings and his culture. However, he says that the U.S. has given him the guarantee of living well, a good job and the happiness of having his wife and three children.
“This means a lot to me,” he says. “This country has given me things that I never imagined and I’m very proud to know that I am now Mexican and American.”
Cesar explains that when he became a citizen, he got a tattoo that held great meaning. The design of the tattoo consists of the Mexican flag and the American flag crossed together.
“I don’t like tattoos to be where people can see them, but this is for me because it stands for a great triumph; I never want to forget that,” he says.
Cesar explains that his son, who also works with him on the days he is off from school, told him that after God, this country also helped save his life due to the resources that were available when he needed them.
Cesar believes there is still much more that he can do with his life and work because he knows challenges will continue to come up, but he is willing to continue to learn from them every day. EL
MIDDLE TOP LEFT AND MIDDLE BOTTOM RIGHT: Cesar’s responsibilities include making sure employees always have a job, including Benito Ojeda (top), one of the dairy’s milkers, and his son Cesar Junior (bottom).
BOTTOM LEFT: Cesar works with dairy owner EJ de Jong to make sure the dairy always runs smoothly. Photos by EL staff.
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 August 2012 11:59|