Lucy Peros | All photos courtesy of Peros ‘Ohana
Author Charles B. Rangel once said: “Veterans are a symbol of what makes our nation great, and we must never forget all they have done to ensure our freedom… Honoring the sacrifices many have made for our country in the name of freedom and democracy is the very foundation of Veterans Day.”
Many of our Sakada Offsprings have served in the United States Military. One in particular is Gregory Torricer Peros. He was born in Santo Domingo, Ilocos Sur, Philippines on November 14, 1944. His parents are the late Silvestre Peros, Sr. and Herminia Torricer Peros.
Greg is married to Petra Domingo Peros, a retired Housing Specialist at the County of Maui. Greg and Petra have three successful children: Gregory Patrick “Jay” Peros, Peggy G. Peros Andes, and Pamela Peros-Henderson.
Gregory Patrick “Jay” Peros graduated from St. Anthony High School and Southern Oregon University with a Bachelor in Business Administration/Marketing. He is presently the General Manager of Maui Beach Hotel. He is married to Lorelle Solanso Peros. They have two sons, Jeremy and Jarred. They live in Kahului, Maui.
Peggy G. Peros Andes graduated from St. Anthony High School, the University of Portland with a Bachelor in Business Administration/Accounting and from Chaminade University with a Masters in Business Administration. She is presently employed as a Physician Recruiter for Hawai‘i Pacific Health/Straub Medical Center. She is married to Paul Andes. They have a son, Paxton. They live in Waipahu, O‘ahu.
Pamela Peros-Henderson, LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker), graduated from St. Anthony High School, the University of Portland with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a minor in Political Science, the University of Hawai‘i with a Masters of Social Work and Benedictine University (Lisle, Illinois) with a Master of Science in Business Organizational Behavior and a Master of Science in Management and Organizational Behavior. She is employed at Georgia Outreach and as an Individual and Family Therapist. She is married to Corey Henderson. They have two sons, Cole and Cameron. They live in Richmond Hill, Georgia.
Greg’s father, Silvestre Peros, Sr. was one of the thousands of Sakadas who came to Hawai‘i from the Philippines to work in the sugarcane and pineapple plantations. He worked as a fertilizer maintenance man and an irrigation man at HC&S until his retirement in 1978. His family was one of the few families who were able to come to Hawai‘i in the same year, 1946. So the whole Peros family including his wife, Herminia, daughters, Aurea, and Nenita, and son Greg migrated to Hawai‘i. They settled in Camp 13. Their son James was born on Maui in 1947 at the Pu‘unēnē Hospital.
To support a big family at that time was difficult for the Peros family. So in 1950, Silvestre, Sr. and Herminia decided to take their family back to the Philippines in Santo Domingo. At the same time, Herminia was pregnant and ready to give birth to another child. They were afraid she was going to give birth on the ship while returning to the Philippines. But in God’s time, their baby boy, Sylvester, Jr. was born as soon as they reached Santo Domingo on January 3, 1951.
Later that same year in 1951, Silvestre, Sr. returned to Hawai‘i to work. The Peros children began their school years. Greg attended elementary school in Santo Domingo. He attended Ilocos Sur High School in Vigan until he was a Junior. In 1960, the family moved back to Hawai‘i except Aurea who was already married. However, she was able to re-join the family several years later.
Greg enrolled at Baldwin High School. He graduated in 1963 then attended Honolulu Business College on O‘ahu, majoring in accounting in 1965. Right after graduation, he was drafted into the United States Army. However, after talking to an Army Recruiter, Greg decided to volunteer and served for three years.
Greg did his basic training at Fort Ord, California. After his basic training in January 1966, he went to school at the United States Army Finance School in Fort Benjamin Harrison, in Indianapolis, Indiana. In 1966, he was assigned to Fort Benning, Georgia where he was stationed until January 1968. He was then sent to Germany and assigned to Southern European Task Force in Vicenzia, Italy. In October 1968, he returned to the United States, at Fort Hamilton in New York where he was honorably discharged.
Upon returning home from the military, his first civilian job was a Bank Teller at the then American Security Bank, Wailuku Branch. He later worked as a Sales/Clerk at a Furniture Store. He also worked at the County of Maui Immigrant Services Division and County Finance Department.
While working at those various jobs, Greg got involved in the Filipino Community and met the leaders in the Community such as the late Nancy Andres, Aggie Cabebe, Leo Agcolicol, Atty. Antonio Ramil, the late Cirilo Sinfuego, and many others. This was the time when the planning of the first Barrio Fiesta began and he was very happy to be asked to be a part of the Filipino Fiesta Steering Committee. That was almost 50 years ago and the Barrio Fiesta will be celebrating its 50th Anniversary next year, May 2019.
Since then, Greg has been very active in the community and held offices not only locally but statewide. He is a past president of the United Filipino Council of Hawai‘i, a past president of the Maui Filipino Community Council, a past president of the Lāna‘i Community Association, and a past Vice President of the Maui Filipino Chamber of Commerce. He is the current president of the Santo Domingo Association of Maui.
Greg is not only very active in the community but is also active in the church, specifically, Christ The King Catholic Church in Kahului. At Christ The King, he is a past Pastoral Council Chairperson, Lector, Extraordinary Minister, Outreach Networking Ministry, and a Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus Ministry.
When Greg was working in the County Immigrant Services Division, he was asked numerous times by police personnel to assist in felony case investigations as an Ilokano interpreter. Each time Greg assisted with interpreter services, he would be asked to join the police force. After a year or so of assisting as an Ilokano interpreter, Greg finally became interested in doing police work. He applied for a police officer position and after he passed the required examination, he was hired.
Greg started Police Recruit Training in April 1976 with 12 other men. One of his fellow recruits was an Air Force veteran. He mentioned to Greg about the Veteran GI Bill and classes at the then Maui Community College. Greg followed the advice and using the GI Bill, enrolled at the college taking evening classes and majoring in Criminal Justice. After about eight years, Greg completed the required credits to graduate and received his Associates Degree in Criminal Justice.
In 1978, Greg was assigned to serve on Lāna‘i for one year. He and his wife, Petra decided that the whole family should move to Lāna‘i for the whole year. They rented their house on Maui and they lived in one of the houses designated for police officers on Lāna‘i.
The whole family got involved in the Lāna‘i Community. His son, Jay became a member of the Lāna‘i Youth Baseball League and other community affairs. So Greg decided to extend his assignment there on Lāna‘i. Lāna‘i has a very large Filipino population and so they joined the Filipino Association and Greg even became their association’s president soon after joining.
During his term as President of the Lāna‘i Filipino Association, with the four Filipino groups—Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Pangasinan, and Visayan—they were able to work together and organized a mini Barrio Fiesta using bamboo to build Bahay Kubos, very similar to Maui’s Barrio Fiesta. The family also enjoyed fishing and hunting with their friends while they were on Lāna‘i.
However, in 1984, Greg and his family decided to move back to Maui. After three months of being back on Maui, he got promoted to Sergeant and Greg was assigned to go to Molokai. He and his wife decided Greg would go to Molokai for the one year assignment and Petra would stay home with their children. At that time, their son Jay was attending St. Anthony High School and their two daughters, Peggy and Pamela were attending Kahului Elementary School. Greg came home almost every week on his days off to be with his family. After eleven months on Molokai, Greg came home using the 12th month as his vacation.
Greg worked in the Wailuku Patrol for a few years, then in 1988, he requested to be transferred to the Criminal Investigation Division. He served about three years as a Detective.
In 1991, the Hawai‘i State Law Enforcement Officials awarded Greg “Officer of the Year,” Maui County Police Department. Greg and Petra went to Hilo where he received his award during their convention.
Greg was promoted to Lieutenant several years later. He retired in 1999. As a retiree from the Police Department, he is still very active and trying to give back to the community and church. He is still working as a Registered Court Interpreter, a Realtor with Peros Realty Company and a businessman as President of GPP Imports Inc., which imports Philippine products.
Each of Greg’s three children were asked to write, say, or share a message, their thoughts, or even memories about their Dad:
Gregory Patrick “Jay” Peros: “During the summer of my sophomore year since there was no school, I thought I could stay up late and sleep in. However, that wasn’t the case! Dad came into my room and he said, ‘Wake up, you’re going to work.’ I didn’t quite understand but when Dad said something, you listened and you followed instructions—you never talked back. I didn’t have any prior warning about having to go to work so for me this was out of the blue. I got up and Dad drove me to Maui Pine. I applied and I started early the next day. I thought, ‘Wow, I must have done something wrong.’ Later on though, I came to understand that what he wanted to teach me was the meaning of hard work and the importance of an education. Dad, I can’t even begin to express how grateful I am for everything you’ve done for me. You are a positive figure in my life and have increased my self-confidence. By example, you taught me the importance of giving back to our community. You were always patient as I was growing up and like any kid I needed to be corrected at times. Looking back, I can see that you are way more patient with your grandkids than you were with us, your own kids—haha. Thank you for all that you and Mom do for all of us! Love, Jay, Lorelle, Jeremy, and Jarred.”
Peggy Peros Andes: “Dad has always been strict with us. Now that I have a son of my own, Paxton, I realize it is because Dad (and Mom) just wanted the best for the three of us—they wanted us to be good people with good values and high morals. Thank you Dad for your endless amounts of love and support, even when I probably don’t deserve it. And thank you for working so hard, for being a role model and showing us what success looks like. There are not enough words to describe how grateful I am to you (and Mom). We love you, Paul, Peggy, and Paxton.”
Pamela Peros-Henderson: “Dad truly lives life driven by his core values: Values of Faith, Family, having integrity and a strong work ethic, service to others and striving for better all of what he and Mom have instilled in my brother, sister and I. It is within these values that I attribute to the Filipino heritage. Values that I saw in other Sakadas such as my grandparents, aunts, and uncles. Dad’s love and pride for his culture and the Filipino Community is shown through his many years of involvement in building, preserving and upholding the culture and community. Thank you Dad and we love you, Corey, Pamela, Cole, and Cameron.”