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Voice: Press reporter praised for story

July 23, 2001

I am Joe Singh Rodriguez a Brawley native residing in Tennessee. My reason for writing is to recognize your employee Mr. Aaron Claverie for a recently published article regarding a brief synopsis of my life.

This article, published in the I.V. Press July 15, was written in such manner my mother was unable to finish reading me the story. I have begun to receive e-mails from Valley residents raving over how well this article was written.

Now the remainder of the story … I reluctantly agreed to an exclusive interview with Aaron after some consideration and great hesitation. The truth to the matter is I have carried a terrible dislike for all aspects of the media for decades and hence refused to ever speak with any member of the media regardless of value or impact any story could ever carry as a result of the media's overall lack of credibility in my eyes.

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Aaron convinced me with his words he would produce a factual account of our interview and publish the same as a means to inspire members of an impoverished community, the community I come from but never left behind and now desire to reach/assist.

My mother and father's hearts are bursting with joy with the results of this story, particularly in the manner/style Aaron chose to depict the same. This should serve as a true indicator the story reached the vast audience of working-class Americans the Valley produces.

Although the subject and/or article are not Pulitzer material, this article will accomplish what millions of Pulitzers never will. This article will reach and inspire perhaps three, maybe even four, Valley kids or young adults, igniting a fire in their minds and souls where plentiful quantities of fuel reside, lacking only direction, inspiration and hope; hope of fulfilling dreams so that they too, can obtain their piece of the "American pie."

It will then be their charter to return to the Valley and inspire future generations so that one day, the young, bright, hungry and dreamers will no longer have to leave the Valley but instead create opportunity resulting in a synergism that will guide and self perpetuate the community for generations to come as initially envisioned by our grandparents who migrated from great lands over vast distances.

These same pioneers left behind a world of oppression, starvation and misery coming to nest in that scorching desert few in this country find habitable in hopes of realizing the dream.

I often state that you must begin with the person in the mirror and the Imperial Valley Press took that formidable step in front of the mirror with this story. Thank you and please relay my thanks to Aaron.

JOE SINGH RODRIGUEZ

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

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