Chris Ayala came to Canada to build a better life for his wife and two children.
The price he paid was three-and-a-half years without seeing them once.
A carpenter by trade, Ayala moved to Edmonton from the Philippines in 2008. When that job dried up, his immigration agency found him some manufacturing work in Swift Current.
Ayala’s permanent residency was eventually granted last summer and his family was finally able to join him in Canada on June 19, 2012.
“During that time, processing my permanent residency was so hard for me,” Ayala says, relief still evident in his voice.
Before any of that could happen though, Ayala had to follow through on a vision for his family’s future. In the beginning he wasn’t entirely sure what that future held, but he knew it wasn’t in the Philippines, or in Saudi Arabia where he had worked previously in the construction industry.
“If I was staying in the Philippines or Saudi Arabia, there’s no life there because everything’s very expensive,” he states. “It is nicer living here comparing to there.”
He took the next step toward a better life last winter by acquiring his H2S Alive, Confined Space and First Aid safety tickets through Great Plains College. That paved the way for his new career as a steam truck operator with Swift Current-based Trevor’s Oilfield Services, where he was hired last June by owner Trevor Prescesky.
After a few months of training, Prescesky sent Ayala out on his own while Prescesky moved into a new position with Caradan Chemicals.
Prescesky admits that good help can be hard to find and he greatly appreciates having Ayala around.
“He was excited to work for my company and when he started he was a very hard worker,” says Prescesky. “He is a very quick learner and he’s got a good attitude … I’m really happy with everything he’s done.”
For his part, Ayala says the feeling is mutual.
With Ayala at the wheel, Trevor’s Oilfield Services continues to offer steam truck, chemical transfer and pressure-washing services as a subcontractor to Gull Lake-based Central Energy Services.
“Especially my boss right now, Trevor, he treats me really nice and that’s why I really continue doing this kind of job. I’m really happy with my employer. I can say nothing bad.
“They treat me well and that’s why I am doing the best that I can.”
And Ayala’s best may be yet to come. He has plans to obtain his Class 1A driver’s license this spring, which would allow him to drive vac trucks and semis and open yet more doors when it comes to his career.
But, for the time being anyway, all roads would still seem to lead back to Swift Current. “Swift Current, it’s really good,” said Ayala. “One thing I like about it is because it’s a nice place to grow up here for a family.
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