The following story is one in a series from the ongoing People of Chelsea project by Darlene DeVita in collaboration with Sarah Putnam, which photographs and interviews our fellow citizens. These stories celebrate where we are now as a community as we enter the 400th year of the history of our city’s founding. The entire project will be archived digitally at the Chelsea Public Library, and has initially been made possible by a grant from the Chelsea Cultural Grant. The People of Chelsea project looks forward to celebrating the 400th with all of you.
Jose and Miguel Quintero/Eastern Salt Co. 2023
Jose: I came to Chelsea in 2002 from San Pedro Sula in Honduras. The truth is I came because there are good opportunities here. There are quite a few people from my country that I know, so that helps one to do well, because of the culture, sharing the same customs, many beautiful things.
Miguel: I’ve been here in Chelsea for 20 years. My father came first, from San Pedro Sula in Honduras. Because my brother was murdered there, my lawyer advised me to apply for political asylum. My dad was working here at Eastern Salt and he helped me get a job. I began working as a laborer, helping the boys with any small activity in maintenance. Over time I advanced. I got my driver’s license. Today I have a license to operate heavy machinery. It was hard to get because of my English, but it is a very great opportunity. In truth it is a dream come true for immigrants who come to this country, which is a country of many opportunities.
[During the pandemic] the company told us to stay home, but they never stopped helping us. We continued to get paid. I was the only one who came in to work, just to check on the machined in case there was an oil leak, because we are so close to the harbor. It is an excellent company, that’s the truth. Work recommenced here when they told us to come in, because everything was determined by the government. At first just 5 people could come back, and then it increased until everyone was back at work. But they never stopped paying us, never.