To achieve the American Dream

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Staff Spotlight: José Vélazquez

Fifty years ago, a man came to Santa Barbara in search of the American Dream. While some say that such a life died long ago or in fact never existed, for the past 40 years (41 this Oct. 1) José Vélazquez believes he has been living that dream, working on Westmont’s campus. What’s more, the seasoned landscaper has recently obtained American citizenship, and has no plans of leaving his long-held position.

“I plan on working here all that I can; I want to stay here.” Vélazquez smiled with his trademark red bandana around his neck, a sun-bleached testament to his years of service.

When he first came to California, Vélazquez had a friend who worked at Westmont who gave him a hand in getting the job. “The only particulars of my job are taking care of Kerrwood Lawn and the house and the main entrance,” he said when asked the specifics of his duties.

“This campus has certainly improved my faith. The entire community is like a second family to me,” he said. Vélazquez is going down to Los Angeles for his citizenship ceremony this week, and all of Westmont certainly wishes him a safe travel and return, along with continued happiness as he lives out his dream.


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