Augustine Rodriguez, 82, of Chino, grew up in the Salinas Valley in Northern California, where he worked as a general laborer for many years and received an eighth-grade education.
He served in the Air Force as a clerk typist in the 1950s and was stationed in Canada for 18 months.
He moved to Los Angeles and realized he needed a better education if he wanted to improve himself.
He attended night classes and earned a “high school cap and gown,” he said proudly.
He and his wife Irene moved their family to Chino in 1972 when his brother-in-law described it as a beautiful place to live.
For many years, he commuted to his sheet metal job in Compton and when that company moved to Texas, he decided to try for a correctional officer job at the California Institution for Men (CIM) in Chino.
At the time, there was no maximum age for applicants, so at age 52, Mr. Rodriguez got the job.
He retired when he was 73.
He received a unit citation for his service to help restore order during a 2009 riot, in which 1,400 inmates destroyed eight buildings at CIM over an 11-hour period.