Maria Isabel Mera

From: Portoviejo, Ecuador  Current City: Willmar, MN
"When I came here, it was too hard. Everything was different than my life in Ecuador."
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Maria Isabel Mera grew up in a poor family in Ecuador. She used to dream of buying a house for her parents. After years of hard work, she was able to make her dream a reality.

Ms. Mera was born in the coastal city of Portoviejo, Ecuador. She graduated from high school in Ecuador and attended university for two years. Her cousin introduced her to a friend, an American citizen. They fell in love and got married. Shortly after, Ms. Mera moved to the U.S. with her husband.

The first American city in which Maria Isabel lived was New York. She spent eight years there working in a production factory. Soon after the September 11 attacks in 2001, Ms. Mera was laid off. While she contemplated her options, she visited a friend in Willmar, Minnesota and applied for a position in the town’s Jennie-O Turkey Store factory. To her surprise, she was hired and has been there ever since.

Ms. Mera has climbed her way through the Jennie-O factory. She has worked there as a production worker, assistant supervisor, and maintenance worker. After receiving her American citizenship, she sponsored visas for her parents to join her in Minnesota. In addition to her career, Maria Isabel volunteers as a pastoral assistant at Paz y Esperanza Lutheran Church in Willmar.

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