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5 Questions for Fernando A. Sanchez

About Fernando A. Sanchez

Age: 48
Hometown: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
Length of time in Gainesville: Six months
Education: Bachelor’s degree in administration
Occupation: Business manager, Sheila Sanchez Insurance Agency
Most interesting job: Host, TV cooking show “Friendo y Comiendo” (“Frying and Eating it Immediately”) in Dominican Republic. Note: this is the best translation I can find for the name of my former show)
Family information: Sheila (Wife/Absolutely-Best-Friend-Ever-Ever); Sheila Marie, daughter; Raul, son. I have two dogs, too (Michael and Scott).

Each Monday, “5 Questions” asks someone in our community to answer five questions about their lives. If you know someone who would be a good subject for this feature, send their name and contact information to

Fernando A. Sanchez brought his family to the United States with a dream of making a better life. They conquered the sometimes-grueling process of becoming American citizens, and they have chosen to settle in Gainesville to start a new business. Today, The Times asks Sanchez five questions about coming to America.

1. You and your wife were successful businesspeople in the Dominican Republic. What made you decide to come to the United States and seek citizenship?

Yes, we were. Money is not all in life (but it helps). We came to the United States because here you can succeed being honest, and committed to an ideal. From the very beginning we sought after the U.S. citizenship as a twofold quest: 1) To tell everybody here that this country is worth fighting for; and 2) to succeed in any venue we committed to do in life.

2. What was life like for you when you first came to the U.S.?

Just as it is right now: Full of expectations, laborious work to obtain results, and continuous talking to the average people to overcome stereotypes and obtain acceptance. It is wonderful to be able to talk to many people, and being able to send my message across the table.

3. What challenges did you face during your effort to become a citizen?

Nothing. It is just a bureaucratic process when you enter legally through the immigration office. Long wait, but it is understandable.

4. Why did you choose Gainesville as the place to set up your business?

Actually, it was not me. It was my wife, through the opportunity to open her State Farm agency (I must say, I am extremely happy for it). The options were Seattle, Wash., Greenville, N.C., and here. We are sure that Hall County is going to explode in a near future with economic activity. We are actively working to be part of that boom. We would love to receive the sympathy of the current business owners and dwellers in general to talk to us about their insurance and financial needs. We have the knowledge, the passion, and the understanding of what it means to them to effectively protect their assets, investments, and their lives. We are in the same boat.

5. What advice would you give to other potential immigrants who want to come here?

No. 1: Do not look back. If you decide to come because you have potential, bring your body, your mind, and your soul. That’s one. Another advice is, stop comparing life here with life there. If you are here, embrace the good things this amazingly big country has. If there is something you believe has to be fixed, begin to work on it. Do not complain, put yourself into action. Make yourself available to any community organization to make things happen. Oh, I have a third one: However, and whenever possible (depending the educational level), learn English. If you don’t, you will never be able to contribute your 100 percent.

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