Spotlight: Still A Land Of Opportunity

photo of Jose Torres and his pool operator students
Jose Torres (standing center) instructs spanish-speaking Certified Pool Operator students on the fine points of water chemistry and testing.
photo of Jose Torres

This month we’re shining the Spotlight on the story of Jose Torres, a Columbian immigrant who found his path to citizenship in the pool service industry. Torres entered the country legally 15 years ago but had very little money and few prospects. He initially lived on the streets of Miami, sometimes sleeping in a car and relying on handouts to survive. He needed an opportunity to show that he had the drive and work ethic to make it in this country, and the service industry gave him that chance. In pool and spa service, he found a trade that rewarded hard work and offered a chance to build a career.

In 2004, Torres grew his expertise by becoming a Certified Pool Operator via the National Swimming Pool Foundation, a step that better qualified him for work servicing commercial pools. Five years later, he became a CPO instructor and now promotes CPO classes to Spanish-speaking students in Texas, California and Florida. He recently earned the NSPF Instructor Award for the most certifications to Spanish-speaking pool professionals.

But Torres’ story doesn’t end there: During February’s Everything Under the Sun show in Orlando, Torres was working in the NSPF booth helping Spanish-speaking attendees when he had to leave the show floor for a while — to take the final step in becoming a US citizen. Shortly after taking his oath of citizenship on Friday, February 21, he asked his wife, Fe Maria, to remarry him, now that he was a US citizen. Her response, “Are you buying me a new ring?” When he said, “Of course,” she happily agreed. 

“I’m so proud of him,” says Fe Maria. “He’s very thankful for the opportunity he’s had and now wants to help other people achieve their dreams.”

Jose Torres Paraiso Pools, Deltona, Fla
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