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Statement of Craig Ramos

August 8th, 2008

Statement of Craig Ramos
August 8, 2008,
on the occasion of announcing gifts from the
Marcos M. Duran and Vivian H. Duran Family Trust

I am honored to be here today to present these gifts to Hartnell College, Alisal High School, and the Salvation Army, from the estate of my aunt and uncle, Marcos and Vivian Duran.

My aunt and uncle were devoted to their family and their community. These gifts fulfill a life-long goal of theirs to do whatever they could to help students in the Salinas Valley have an opportunity to get an education.

I remember my uncle as a special man who could make or build anything. He spent most of his career in the agriculture business, working on various machines.

I remember a story he told about one time when he was working in an agriculture warehouse. His bosses came in and were talking about how they really needed some kind of special machine to harvest a particular crop. That got my uncle’s interest, and within minutes, they had put their heads together and my uncle cleared an area on the floor of the warehouse where he sketched out what he thought that machine might look like. Within a week, my uncle had created and built the machine that they needed, making everyone’s work easier.

He once built a Model T from scratch, and even went to scrap yards to get parts needed to build a trailer to sit it on. It was his pride and joy. He would be happy to know this car now sits in a small museum in Anchorage, Alaska.

My uncle was a very smart, creative man. He truly was an engineer without a degree. I think it would surprise people to learn that he had no formal education to speak of, since he was so gifted. But, he never had the opportunity to have an education. His father died when he was very young, and so, when he as 6 or 7, his mother moved him and a sibling to California from their home in New Mexico. The family followed the crops, working in the fields.

After meeting and marrying my aunt, Vivian Acosta, Marcos and Vivian moved to Salinas, where they made their home. She went to Gonzales High School and worked for Firestone in Salinas for most of her adult life. They felt strong ties to this area and they highly valued their family and friends.

I remember my uncle telling me that, if he could make it possible to keep even one child from having to work the fields the way he’d had to, it would make him very happy. Through the Marcos M. Duran and Vivian H. Duran Family Trust, and these gifts to create scholarships for students of the Salinas Valley, my aunt and uncle would be very happy indeed.