Chasing a Welding Dream

It's a weekend a local family won't soon forget.

An area student gives her family a life changing surprise during her graduation ceremony, and it all started with a dream and a little bit of hope.

"I never dreamed of this and I'm just so blessed to have it."

Yadira Mendoza has taken chasing a dream to a whole new level.

Her family has fallen on tough times and weren't able to send her to college, but she never lost hope.

Yadira tells is, "we'll make it through it, I know we will"

She took it upon herself to go out and get 49 different companies to sponsor her to help pay for her education.

The career she is after may not be what you're thinking.

Jesse Gonzalez, branch operations manager at Westair Gas and Equipment  says, "we understand that she's a very good welder.  That's how we were involved.  We wanted to offer her some of the best equipment out there.  All of the equipment is over 100,000 dollars that she's going to receive."

Praxair-Westair, in conjunction with Lincoln electric are some of her sponsors offering here a six figure graduation gift.

They presented and surprised her family with not only equipment, but also a brand new truck.

It's all part of the  Living the Brand Scholarship.

It was a surprise Mendoza says her parents more than deserve.

"I guess a lot of it had to do with my parents because they've worked hard all their lives.  I've always wanted to make them proud in something."

Gonzalez says in a field of work dominated by men, it's nice to see a bright, hardworking young lady not only have such a passion for welding, but also be good at it.

He tells us it's time for the "rules" to be changed.. 

Gonzalez says, "anybody that wants to go into the field that they feel in the heart, they can do it.  Now we have young ladies that are going into this field, so we want to empower that by telling them these companies are out there to make the playing field out there for everybody."

Mendoza says, "i'm going to Borger to Frank Phillips College and i'm going to be certified to be a welder.  And then i'm hopefully going to be in the pipeline hopefully soon."

She tells us she enjoys welding because it allows her to just be herself.

She says it's relaxing and very stress relieving, and she couldn't imagine doing anything else.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics most recent data shows that as of 2011 women make up 5.4% of welding, soldering, and brazing workers.

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