Lomeli collected memories of Industry

December 25, 2019

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week “Mac did it all,” said Vicente Perez’s son, Dave, who is the president of Industry Disposal’s parent company, Valley Vista Services, and is also the mayor of Industry. Lomeli, a native of Mexico, met Vicente Perez in 1954 in a cigar shop on Valley Boulevard. Perez told Lomeli he hoped to start a disposal company and was looking for a hard worker. The two men exchanged contact information and parted ways. Lomeli was working at a farm in La Puente at the time, but he left for a better-paying job at the borax mines near Needles at the California/Arizona border. Perez, it turned out, had once mined borax and thought anyone willing to do hard labor in the middle of the desert had to be tough. So when he got the disposal contract in Industry, he immediately wrote Lomeli and offered him better money than he was making at the mines. INDUSTRY — Point to almost any street corner in this city, and 77-year-old Macario Lomeli can tell you all about it. Because almost nobody in Industry has more history than old “Mac,” as everyone here calls him. Lomeli was the first non-family employee hired in 1957 by Industry Disposal, the private company the city has used since its 1957 incorporation to collect garbage and do odd jobs. Working with Industry Disposal founder Vicente Perez and Perez’s three young sons, Lomeli took out the city’s garbage, painted its curbs and hung its street signs until he retired in 1998. Because Industry’s founders decided to keep a small staff and contract most city work to outside companies, Industry Disposal was hired to do demolition, weed control, sign installation and many other small jobs in the city. One of Lomeli’s first jobs for Industry Disposal was ripping down an old train depot near Old Valley Boulevard. Lomeli remembered having no idea how to drive the big dump truck loaded with depot debris. “Vicente, he just sat down in the passenger seat and told me to do exactly what he said,” Lomeli remembered. “On the way up to the dump, it was a little rough, but, by the time we were coming back, I had it.” Dave Perez said his father had little patience for workers who could not think on their feet, which made Lomeli’s willingness to give anything a try an asset. “Mac took the initiative,” Perez said. “My dad needed someone who with a head on his shoulders, someone to show a little leadership.” To this day, Lomeli talks glowingly of Vicente Perez, how Perez counted on his young employee to get things done, even though Lomeli often did not have the expertise or the proper equipment. “Un hombre de los hombres,” or a man’s man, Lomeli said of Perez recently, while looking at a commemorative plaque installed in front of Industry City Hall when Perez died in 1979. “(The Perezes) bought my dad 18 pairs of pants and 12 shirts to make sure he always had something clean to wear,” said Lomeli’s son, Ray. These days, Lomeli enjoys traveling with his wife, gardening and hanging out with his four children and their families. He still drives around Industry from time to time to visit some of the old-timers, he said. For Dave Perez, Lomeli is a connection to his childhood. During a recent visit, Perez remembered working with Lomeli when he was about 11. A load of sawdust and wood were stuck in a sawdust catcher on a trash truck, so Perez climbed into the belly of the truck and jabbed the trash with a stick to loosen it up. The sawdust and wood poured out, covering the little boy. Perez remembered feeling Lomeli’s arm grabbing him and pulling him out of the garbage. “I guess you could say he saved my life,” Perez said. Ben Baeder can be reached at (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2703, or by e-mail at [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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