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Goodyear associates from different cultures call UC home

Goodyear associates from different cultures call UC home
  Many Union City Goodyear associates have enjoyed living their entire lives in our region. Others have come from places near and far, and now also enjoy calling this area their home. The Union City area has been the recipient of a blending of cultures as team members have moved in from numerous states in the U.S. and from countries such as Mexico, Canada, Brazil, Columbia, Argentina and Honduras.

Pablo Sinisterra, a technology team leader in Banburys and component prep, was born in Cali, a city of five million people in the country of Columbia.

He says it has been a big transition moving to a smaller community. The family moved to Martin earlier this year. They had earlier lived in Goodyear communities in Lawton, Okla., and Akron, Ohio.

“Living in a smaller town is a cultural change but my family and I have really enjoyed it,” he said. “The people are very friendly, and our neighbors are great. We have adapted well to a more easy-going way of life in this area.”

Sinisterra said that the concept of Thanksgiving is fairly new to him, but his wife, Yvette, who is from Cleveland, helps him to understand the background to this holiday celebration.

He said they are still trying to fit in and develop more friendships here. They are getting involved in community activities, and their son, Nicolas, is involved with soccer and Tae Kwon Do.

“Setting up ‘play days’ for Nicolas and his friends helps us to get to know people,” he said, noting that he is also learning about American football while watching it with friends.

“People have accepted us very well. I look forward to establishing more relationships with the people here,” he said.

Jorge Espinoza, maintenance specialist in final finish, said moving here was also a big transition for him and his wife, Trinidad.

Their daughter, Vania, was 1 year old when they moved here on July 2, 2001, from Mexico City, where Goodyear was closing a tire plant. He had the opportunity at that time to move to Union City.

“It was difficult early for my wife and me since we were in a new country,” he remembers. “We had to learn a lot about the government and the laws here, like traffic rules.

“We also had to get used to the food, and we have had to go to places like Paducah (Ky.) and Memphis to get special food items from Mexico,” he said. “Actually, we don’t do this as often any more since we enjoy the food here and really don’t miss Mexican food.”

He noted that the pace of life is different here than it was in Mexico City, a place of about 20 million people.

“There is a big difference in lifestyles. In Mexico City, everything is fast. Here, it is much slower. I enjoy being involved in tennis tournaments, my daughter and son love to play soccer, and Trinidad is making cards and taking knitting classes at the library.”

Their son, Jorge Jr., was born in Union City in June 2002 and is an American citizen. Both children are students at Union City Elementary School, where “they have lots of friends. They are bilingual in that they speak both English and Spanish well,” he said.

“We have had the opportunity to visit Chicago, St. Louis, Atlanta, Alabama and other places in Tennessee, and we enjoy the different seasons here. The people have been really friendly, and the people in the plant have been good to share information and their ideas with me.”

Rodolfo Pina, product engineer in component prep, and his wife, Clara, also moved here seven years ago.

The 20-year Goodyear career associate worked his first 13 years with Goodyear at the company’s Mexico City plant also before it was closed. Both of the couple’s two children, Elisa, 9, and Marco Antonio, 8, enjoy attending Union City Elementary School.

“Our lives in Union City are a little different from what they were in Mexico, but we enjoy living here because we have made a lot of good friends. Our children have, too. And we are involved in some activities in the local catholic church,” he said.

Marcelo D’Aprile, maintenance specialist in curing, is a native of Argentina. The 22-year Goodyear veteran, his wife, Celina, and their three children moved here seven years ago.

“We do not have a Thanksgiving Day celebration in Argentina, but we have enjoyed the holiday here with our family and friends,” he said. “I’ll always remember my first Thanksgiving here when my family had not arrived yet and an associate and his family invited me to their home to share a meal and fellowship.”

Celina has a degree in psychology. Oldest daughter Marianela is a junior at Westview High School; Franco is a freshman at Westview, where she plays clarinet in the band and saxophone in the jazz band; and younger daughter Camilla is in the sixth grade and involved in the band at Martin Middle School.

“We really like the country and the people here,” he said. “Our children are involved in many outside activities such as dance, band and soccer.”

Marcelo said he appreciates the hospitality and the help that everybody is providing to him and his family. “I feel very comfortable working here,” he said while adding, “I also appreciate everyone understanding my English.”

Maira Grimco is wearing a big smile these days. On Sept. 26, she became a naturalized United States citizen.

A native of Honduras, Maira has lived in the U.S. 18 years, and she has worked at the Goodyear plant for the past 10 years.

“I’ve always considered this to be my country. I love living in the U.S.,” she said.

A person who is born in another county must have lived in the U.S. for five years before they can begin the process of obtaining American citizenship. Then, it took Ms. Grimco eight months to complete the application process and learn about the way our government operates.

Her daughter, Cynthia, completed the naturalization process with her.

“I can now vote and participate in the election process. In fact, I voted in the early voting process,” she said with a big grin.

She admits getting assistance from the plant’s team members was important to her as she completed the steps required to become a naturalized citizen.

“They helped me study and answered some of my questions,” she said. “They have been very supportive and encouraging. This was very important to me.”
Published in The Messenger 11.28.08

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