BATTLE CREEK, Mich. –
Editor’s Note: During the month of May, the great achievements of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders are highlighted to celebrate the contributions that generations of AANHPI have made to American history, society and culture.
In 1978, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter designated May as Asian Pacific Heritage Week. May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the U.S. on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869.
Defense Logistics Agency Disposition Services Pacific Director and Special Emphasis Program Champion Faron Cordrey wanted to highlight select members of the DLA Disposition Services Pacific Region that have special ties with AANHPI Heritage Month.
Jose Santos was born and raised in Guam and is Chamorro. He is married and has two boys. During his free time, he enjoys spending time with family and friends,
playing football, basketball, golf, as well as lifting weights, hiking, and going to the beach. He is passionate about food and enjoys smoking meats and cooking.
Growing up he wanted to be a professional football player. His love for the game has transitioned from player to coach for his son’s football team.
Santos is a long-time DLA employee and has deployed multiple times with the agency - 2010 to Kuwait, 2011 to Iraq, and 2017 to Afghanistan when he assisted with the final draw down of Camp Victory.
He has held various positions within DLA ranging from a material handler and identifier, disposal specialist representative, accountable officer, and environmental duties. Currently, he is part of the Warehouse Management System development deployment team in Hawaii. The new system will simply storage and processes to better align with industry standards.
One of his primary roles is assisting the environmental division with removing hazardous waste from military installations on the island.
The most exciting part of his job has been the ability to travel, experience different environments, and meet new people, he said.
After being a team member of DLA for many years, his advice to others is, “Stay as open minded as possible and be involved with new projects and programs. Things are ever changing, keeping an open mind will lessen your work stress and being involved with new projects and programs will keep you busy with new things to learn and open yourself up to new and different experiences.”
Santos was taught to be proud of who he is, what he does, and that family is everything.
“Family is the most important thing [to me],” he added while reflecting on special holiday family gatherings.
A historical figure that Santos most admires is Mau Piailug, a grandmaster navigator.
A grandmaster navigator uses a traditional, non-instrument wayfinding methods for open ocean voyaging. His navigational methods rely on clues using the sun and stars, winds and clouds, seas and shells, and birds and fish.
He admires Mau because his navigational feats sparked cultural pride within the Pacific Islands and connected Polynesians to stories their forebears told of similar voyages of generations past.
“He reconnected the people of the Pacific to their cultural roots and revived the interest in preserving traditional culture and navigational methods as well as reinvigorated the art of canoe building and cultural studies,” Santos added.
When asked what significance Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander Heritage Month means to him, he responded by saying, “Nothing, I celebrate my heritage every day!”