Trucker named 2004 Worker of the Year

| Monday, October 04, 2004

An owner-operator from Tribune, KS, has been honored as the 2004 American Worker of the Year by Dickies Workwear.

Octavio Vasquez, 42, was selected for the honor from thousands of nominees nationwide. The livestock hauler is the first naturalized citizen to receive the honor, which is given annually. The trucker was nominated by his wife.

“Octavio epitomizes both the ideals of our ancestors and those of the ‘new’ American worker: someone who came to this country without a penny and has built himself up from the ground floor,” his wife, Jill, wrote in her nomination letter.

“He has become a successful owner-operator truck driver by his own sheer determination and strong character. He’s out on the road all the time, pushing cows in the dust, heat and bitter cold. He has never once complained about how hard he had to work to provide for his family.”

Vazquez came to the United States from Chihuahua, Mexico, where he had been studying to be a teacher. Upon arriving in Kansas, a friend helped him find work driving farm trucks. He became a naturalized citizen in 2001.

As the 2004 Worker of the Year, Vazquez received a 2005 Dodge Ram quad-cab pickup truck and a weekend with his wife at the Opryland Hotel. He was featured in an awards ceremony Sept. 17 during a live broadcast of the “Grand Ole Opry.”

“Mr. Vazquez truly represents the American ideal that with hard work and determination, anyone can achieve the American dream,” said Bob Scott, senior vice president for Williamson-Dickey Manufacturing Co., a Fort Worth-based firm founded in 1922.

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