For Midwesterners, a trip home usually means a couple hours car ride. St. Paul Campus B&G Worker Fernando Mora’s recent homecoming consisted of two straight days of driving.
The trip to his family’s dairy farm in Santa Ana Tecolapa, Mexico, was Mora’s first visit home since emigrating to his grandparents’ house in Southern California in the Winter of 2003. Two weeks later his family moved to Minnesota.
Mora’s parents wanted to raise their youngest two boys in the U.S., so the entire family made the move. Already 16, Fernando had to start High School over because he didn’t know English at the time.
“It was strange to come to a country and be the only one in the room that didn’t speak the language,” commented Mora about being placed in an English-only classroom when he first enrolled in high school.
Mora began attending Kennedy High School in Bloomington, then transferred to Mendota Heights’ Sibley High before eventually graduating from Kennedy. He worked full time while he was in high school and held several jobs before landing at the U in 2007.
Mora enjoys working with his customers at the U and likes the fact that they appreciate his work.
“It makes you feel good about your job that you can do something that makes others happy,” said Mora.
During his trip home, Mora couldn’t believe the amount of dust that piled up at his family’s homestead. He realized that taking care of your workplace is just like taking care of your home … if you don’t clean up, it’s going to be a mess.
Mora bought a house in Richfield in 2008, where he lives with his parents and brother Davi, 17, who attends Wave High School. His older brother Avel, older sister Jasmine and younger brother Irving also live in the Twin Cities.
While Mora is happy to have his green card, he hopes to eventually become a U.S. citizen. Because the test is expensive, he plans to wait until he can afford it and study up. He would also like to take advantage of the Regents Scholarship and go back to school for architecture when the economy turns around.
The trip to and from Minnesota may have been a long one for Mora, but after seeing how few people are left in his hometown Mora appreciates the opportunity to live and work in Minnesota.