SER NATIONAL GIVES THANKS FOR AMERICA’S BOUNTY AND BLESSINGS
Nation’s Service-Employment-Redevelopment Network Invites Us To Express Gratitude For Those Who Have Helped Us Endure
Irving, TX – Ignacio Salazar, SER National Chief Executive Officer, issued the following statement as we gather with loved ones to celebrate Thanksgiving Day, each in our way and place but all with a deep sense of heartfelt gratitude at this time.
“It was this time last year that our nation faced one of its most significant tests in our lifetimes as the pandemic raged and tens of thousands of people filled hospital beds as uncertainty loomed before us. Those were difficult days when celebrating Thanksgiving meant young and old gathering and perhaps endangering the well-being of family members and close friends. So many of us decided to forego the special celebration, and instead, we shared the day virtually or reflected and prayed in our personal private space.
Now, twelve months later, much has changed, and we have the opportunity to come together again. This Thanksgiving Day, we can say thank you for all that has happened to transform the darkness of our fears into the bright dawn of hope for our nation and the world. Irrespective of our spiritual walk and faith, we can as kindred spirits acknowledge each other, even if still from behind a mask or a safe social distance. We are here, alive, which is in itself the most remarkable single gift. Now, we can use each day more intentionally to make our world better, more loving, and considerate.
Also, we can express our gratitude to the doctors, nurses, and every single health care provider for being the guardians who ventured out every day to care for us and did everything they could for those they could not save. We can thank the first responders who faithfully reported to their police or fire stations and patrolled or stood watch to keep us safe from harm as we remained behind closed doors. And yes, we can say a heartfelt thank you to the millions of farmworkers, meatpackers, warehouse crews, truckers, grocery store stockers, and cashiers who made sure America was nourished.
Yes, we are a bountiful nation made stronger by the confluence of our gifts, skills, and experiences. We are also abundantly blessed because our founders foresaw times of trials and tribulation and created the framework for us to endure and prevail. The most significant expression of our gratitude is to protect that which unites us across our great land. May we on this Thanksgiving Day rededicate ourselves to America’s promise for future generations of all cultures and the assurance of freedom and liberty for all.”
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About SER Jobs for Progress National, Inc. – “Cultivating America’s Greatest Resource: People”
The SER Network of Affiliates serves over 1,000,000 people annually. SER has locations throughout the country, in more than 24 states and 200 sites. The SER Network provides a variety of comprehensive programs, including housing, youth services, GED classes, English language acquisition, early childhood education, older Americans training, women entrepreneurship, Science-Technology-Engineering-Math (STEM), assistance for military Veterans, operations of workforce centers nationally, plus assisting and placing thousands of qualified men and women in unsubsidized employment.
SER NATIONAL PAYS TRIBUTE TO COLIN POWELL, AN ENDURING AMERICAN LEADER
Nation’s Service-Employment-Redevelopment Network Notes His Rise from Poverty to Pinnacle of Military and Diplomatic Service
Irving, TX – Ignacio Salazar, SER National Chief Executive Officer, today issued the following statement in acknowledgment of the passing of General Colin Powell. He was 84. The former U.S. Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff served multiple presidential administrations and made a lasting impact on U.S. foreign policy.
“Our country has lost a modern historical figure whose legacy will endure for generations. His life is an example of service to country through the most challenging times, yet always with uncompromising integrity. General Powell placed himself squarely at the forefront of accountability in every decision he ever made and understood the weightiness of leadership. He was first, foremost, and always a soldier. His character and demeanor reflected that he understood his every action and word would be an inspiration to some and scrutinized by others.
There are many firsts historians will record about General Powell. He was the first Black national security adviser, first African American chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and first Black U.S. secretary of state. However, the other, perhaps lesser-known part of his life is his determination, work ethic, and perseverance lifted him to the summits of power. His path was not carved out or laid out in front of him. Instead, he was the son of immigrants who joined the R.O.T.C. at 21 after growing up in the South Bronx and going to City College of New York. He joined the Army soon after it was desegregated and served two tours in Vietnam. From there, he would go on to a 35-year military career.
This was the cornerstone of every post he accepted and every mission he carried out; he earned distinction through quiet, selfless service. Twice, he was bestowed the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor for service to our country. May every American salute this loyal soldier as he is laid to rest and remember him for his courage to lead, and in so doing, showing others the way forward.”
SER NATIONAL AND LATINO LEADERS PAY TRIBUTE TO PEDRO VIERA, FORMER SER PRESIDENT, UPON HIS PASSING
Nation’s Service-Employment-Redevelopment Network Honors Community Trailblazer, Visionary, and Lifelong Advocate
Irving, TX – SER National today issued the following statement on the passing of a beloved, respected friend and community champion, 68-year-old Pedro Luis Viera Marrero. The former SER National President from 1988 to 1996 was working in Guayaquil, Ecuador, when doctors say he suffered a fatal heart attack on October 9, 2021. His primary home was Coppell, Texas, where he lived with his wife and family.
“We are heartbroken over the sudden loss of a dear, wonderful friend and colleague,” says Ignacio Salazar, SER National Chief Executive Officer. “On behalf of the entire SER National family and SER Network of Affiliates across the country and Puerto Rico, I wish to send our deepest condolences to Pedro’s wife Tia, his children, and the extended Viera family. Our community has lost a tireless defender and a man who exemplified the belief that we can each serve the disadvantaged in need through selfless actions. Pedro’s greatness was his humility and his infinite faith in the goodness of others. May he now rest in peace and receive the reward of a life well-lived,” said Salazar.
Pedro formalized a record number of new corporate and private foundation partnerships, which led to a more robust Amigos de SER during his tenure as SER National President. He also increased the number of state and federal grants procured and implemented national initiatives, marketing, and fundraising campaigns. His leadership generated millions of dollars on behalf of the SER Network of Affiliates for their work in the areas of affordable housing, urban renewal, family education, and literacy, and job training/job bank services for talent recruitment.
“I knew Pedro for the last 32 years, and during those years, he never ceased to impress me with his work ethic and innovative ideas,” said Joe Campos, former SER National’s Vice-President of Corporate Relations. “He took SER National to another level in the areas of job training and corporate development. To put it lightly, you just had to be around him to know what kind of person Pedro was,” added Campos.
Pedro experienced success in a storied career that provided him opportunities to design, oversee and implement businesses, projects, and programs in the private, government, and non-profit sectors at both the local and national levels.A true visionary, Pedro highly valued business ventures that are focused, accountability-driven, solution-oriented, and legacy building. Some of his past jobs include positions at the Department of Education, Puerto Rico; SER-Jobs for Progress, Inc., Milwaukee; SER-Jobs for Progress National, Inc., Dallas; Pan American Financial, Inc., San Juan; International Construction Solutions Development, Inc., San Juan; Liberty Circle Energy, Inc., San Juan; Institucion Educativa NETS USA, Irving; National Society of Hispanic MBA, Irving; Latino Consulting Services, Inc., Lewisville; and most recently, Universal Coin International (UCoin ), Inc., Guayaquil, Ecuador.
“God gifted Pedro Viera with the talent of always coming up with innovative problem-solving ideas no matter what the industry was,” said Juan Constantino, former SER National’s Vice-President of Operations. “Anytime Pedro was in the room, we knew that out-of-the-box thinking and looking beyond the usual answers was the way to go, and he freely shared his talents to make the outcome better. That’s the sign of a successful leader,” added Constantino.
Whether in his professional or personal life, his motto was constantly to impact others’ lives positively. He pursued this belief with generosity, compassion, servant leadership, and commitment to solving problems. Those who knew Pedro shared that he welcomed and included people from all walks of life. Although he achieved great acclaim and success, Pedro never forgot his humble beginnings or lost sight of the core values of his upbringing. “No te preocupes, yo me encargo” was his typical response to anybody in need. Pedro was just as comfortable occupying a seat at a banquet table with wealthy clients as he was at home sharing a sandwich with the company driver or security guard. He was never too proud to sweep floors or stack chairs, completing whatever needed doing after an event.
He was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, March 30, 1953, to Pedro Luis Viera Correa and Ana Delia Marrero Villalobos. He received a BA in Economics/Statistics at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez, and a Master’s in Urban and Economic Planning from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras. In addition, Pedro pursued post-graduate studies in Urban Education at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.
Pedro is preceded in death by his father, Pedro Luis Viera Correa. He leaves in God’s loving care his devoted wife of 27 years, Tia Viera; his previous wife, Olga Pallan; his two children, Michelle Viera Keleny (Eric Keleny) and Wesley Viera Lava; his mother, Ana Delia Marrero Villalobos; his brother, Luis Alberto Viera Marrero; his three grandchildren, Ohani Keleny, Ari Keleny, and Valentina Keleny; his aunt, Carmen Marrero Villalobos; his cousin, William Candelario (Maria Garcia); his cousin, Alma Yadira Navarro Viera; his two nephews and niece, Jorge Alberto Viera Aviles, Liza Yanice Viera Aviles, and Chris Alberto Viera de la Cruz; as well as other extended family members.
Pedro’s burial will be in Puerto Rico, his native, beloved home, La Isla del Encanto. Remember Pedro, not with sadness but for his warmth, charm, and ardent desire to make people feel accepted and included.
SER NATIONAL: AMERICA’S DIVERSE LABOR IS THE STRENGTH OF OUR NATION
Nation’s Service-Employment-Redevelopment Network Says Labor Day Can Honor the Value and Worth of Every Worker
Irving, TX – Ignacio Salazar, President, and CEO of SER NATIONAL, today issued the following statement in observance of Labor Day 2021, Monday, September 6th:
“Labor Day is an opportunity for our country to celebrate the ever-enduring power of our country’s talented and diverse civilian labor force which reached 164.6-million in February 2020 before the pandemic began and has already surpassed 161-million as our economic recovery continues steadily. This resilience is a testament to each worker in every industry, trade, and profession and proves that labor in all its forms has historically fueled our greatest economic achievements.
As impressive is the productivity of the American worker. According to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the trend continues to show increases in the level of work being performed and the number of hours being worked during the past year. Also, labor output now is greater than it was in the three-month period before the pandemic. American workers adapt to confront and overcome challenges.
The history of Labor Day is rooted deeply in the belief that every worker’s contribution matters and is worthy of being recognized. Evidence of this is that the holiday started with local ordinances passed in America’s towns and cities in the mid-1880’s. Starting with Oregon, more than 28 states made it an official observance and by 1894, Congress made it a legal national holiday.
The most beautiful part of Labor Day is that this is the one holiday of the year when title does not determine who is praised for his or her work. From those who work in our fields and factories, to our first responders, healthcare workers, laborers in construction or professionals, executives, and CEO’s; every man, woman and yes, young workers too, can claim Labor Day is America saying thanks to them. Why not? After all, it takes millions of us daily to keep our country moving forward. So, to every worker, we say job well done!”
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About SER Jobs for Progress National, Inc. – “Cultivating America’s Greatest Resource: People”
The SER Network of Affiliates serves over 1,000,000 people annually. SER is located throughout the country, in 24 states and 200 locations. The SER Network provides a variety of comprehensive programs including housing, youth services, GED classes, English language acquisition, early childhood education, older Americans training, women entrepreneurship, Science-Technology-Engineering-Math (STEM), assistance for military Veterans, operations of workforce centers nationally, plus assisting and placing thousands of qualified men and women in unsubsidized employment.
One of SER National’s Board of Director members, Ms. Laura Quintana, was selected by Latino Leaders as one of the “100 Latinas.”
STORIES, WE ALL CARRY ONE. NOT ONLY ARE WE INSPIRED BY THEM BUT WE INSPIRE THROUGH THEM. WE PRESENT THIS YEAR’S “100 LATINAS”. THESE WOMEN CONTINUE TO INFLUENCE THROUGH THEIR LEADERSHIP AND INSPIRE THOSE AROUND THEM.
VP OF CORPORATE AFFAIRS & GENERAL MANAGER CISCO NETWORKING ACADEMY
Laura focuses on social responsibility, delivering ground breaking initiatives that prepare students to participate in the digital workforce and connects them with career opportunities. Her strengths in scaling and accelerating impact helped her and her team to double the size of the Networking Academy over the past 3 years; it now benefits more than 2.1 million students annually throughout 180 countries. As a 20-year veteran of Cisco, Laura leads a global organization of teams based in 50 countries, including strategy, product management, product development, global field, and operational services teams. Prior to her current role, Laura and her team successfully completed Cisco’s multi-year commitment to the Jordan Healthcare Initiative. She collaborated with the Government of Jordan and was instrumental in driving tele-medicine, clinical collaboration, and tele-radiology projects that enabled quality healthcare services and benefited over 175,000 patients.