Paul Salata is a living testament to the all-American ideal that hard work, perseverance and a bit of luck will pay off for any person living under the stars and stripes, regardless of race, creed, gender or national origin.
"I made it from L.A. to Newport Beach," said Salata, 85. "For me, that's success. That's the so-called American dream."
The second-born son of a Serbian family grew up northeast of downtown Los Angeles in Highland Park. His American-born mother, Melania, and father, Chetko, who had emigrated from the Herzegovina region in the former Yugoslavia, knew of nothing more important than family, church and hard work.
Melania, who was 15 when she married, and Chetko instilled in their large family the values that were once so much a part of the fabric of American society. Those values remain steadfast today, although they have been somewhat overshadowed by revolutionary changes in the social order.