In Loving Memory of Manuel Pinto Sr. April 20th, 1933- February 1st, 2016 Gone but Never Forgotten.
As Americans were pulled from farms to fight abroad or toil in bomb factories, the U.S. government responded by recruiting temporary "guest workers" from Mexico to temporarily fill job gaps created by the war.
One of the Mexicans who traveled north was 25-year-old Manuel Pinto, who had faced an uncertain future in Ciudad Guzman, a city of about 85,000 that lies in a valley just below El Fresnito.
After the war ended, Pinto began mixing drywall joint compound at a company in Blue Island. Each time his supervisors gave him a day's work, Pinto said, he finished by noon.
"I was desperate for something to do," said Pinto, now a burly 71-year-old. Pinto learned to tape drywall joints, and became one of the first Hispanics to join Chicago's branch of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades. And when a friend started a construction company, Pinto joined in 1956 as its drywalling foreman.
That break opened up chances for better lives for his family and acquaintances. Pinto estimates that he secured union taping jobs for at least 100 people from Mexico.
"They were working every minute," he said.
Now retired and living in the south suburbs, Pinto is a legendary figure. "Manuel Pinto was the first. He opened up the jobs for everyone," said Manuel Jimenez, who followed him to Chicago.
Chicago Tribune September 26th, 2004.