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La Dulce Vida, the Sweet Life

Salvador Delgado's job with the fabrication group requires extensive adaptability—welding one day and plumbing another. He shrugs off his work's unpredictable quality as if it were nothing, which it is, when compared to this maintenance maestro's roles outside of work.

Delgado is a Special Olympics volunteer and hobbyist beekeeper. Two things seemingly unrelated, but for Delgado they are both direct extensions of family.

"Families need to stick together," he said. "That's where every community begins."

Delgado and his 17-year-old son, who was born with Down syndrome, have both been involved in the Special Olympics for 15 years. Delgado plays the role of coach, while his son, who learned to swim before he could walk, participates in bowling and swimming.

"Anyone looking to have a great time and see kids really enjoying themselves should think about taking part in this," said Delgado.

Delgado and his family also gather to delight in each others' company several times a year, when flowers are in bloom, to harvest honey from the beehives that populate his brother's backyard.

Delgado, who has been stung many times, said finesse is the key. His niece learned the hard way, missing an entire week of work after being stung on the cheek and dealing with severe swelling. She still participates however, as do most of the men, women and children in Delgado's family.

Delgado's fascination with bees has not gone unnoticed by neighbors. When a watermelon-sized swarm of wild bees nested in a neighbor's roof, Delgado and a few others put an end to the panic. Another time, a group of bees sought refuge from the cold inside a neighbor's mail box, and again Delgado saved the day, unscrewing the mailbox and taking the hive home.

"They don't need much to survive—just some space to work," he said. "They're a great, organized community that works in perfect harmony, and they produce honey, which I love."

Matt Cunningham, SLAC Today, March 19, 2008

Above image: Beekeeping is one of the uniting factors for Salvador Delgado (right) and his family.