May 2021 Newsletter

Categories: News


NFAW 2021 Recap

March 25-31, A week dedicated to celebrating Farmworkers



Typically a week where the work and lives of farmworkers are celebrated through a long-sleeve shirt drive hosted by the Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs (AFOP) and many more national and local events.

This year Proteus partnered its shirt drive with a story-telling campaign and monetary donation opportunities.
If you weren’t able to tune in that week, it’s not too late!



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Meet the Board of Directors

Hijinio Carreon, DO 

Chief Medical Executive, EVP (Mercy One)



Location: Ankeny, Iowa

How did you first hear about Proteus?

Via a post that Proteus CEO, Daniel Zinnel was tagged in on Linkedin

How did you get involved with Proteus?

Daniel met me via Zoom and explained the great work done within Proteus for our migrant farmworkers. He shared the type of health care, education assistance, and job training that was being provided and the vision for a better life for our farmworkers!

What does it mean to you, to be on the Proteus Board of Directors?

It is an honor to serve alongside like-minded leaders. The ability to discuss the creation and maintenance of programs that meet the changing needs of our migrant communities is inspiring.

What is a special moment you share with Proteus?

The I’m Thankful for Farmworkers Virtual Event in the fall – being able to share my appreciation for our farmworkers and learn about and be able to support our services!

What is one thing you want people to know about Proteus and farmworkers?

Proteus has been serving the Hispanic and Latino communities in Iowa for more than 40 years through grant-related funding and donations; without this assistance, they would not be able to operate.

Get to know me:

I have three beautiful daughters and a fantastic spouse! I am incredibly close to my extended family and now that we are all vaccinated,  we had our first family gathering on Día de las Madres! I enjoy jogging and have completed three marathons and one ultramarathon.

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Hard Work and Dedication:

A Recipe for Success


Meet Victoria Honey, an amazing young woman from Greencastle, Indiana.

Early on in Victoria’s life, she developed a strong work ethic, a characteristic passed on by her hard-working parents.

Growing up, Victoria was diagnosed with Specific Learning Disorder or SLD. Yet this disability was no match for the hard-worker that Victoria had already become. It actually motivated her to become more dedicated and she set out to achieve some very high goals for herself.

When Victoria graduated from high school, she had her whole family and high school educators there supporting her as she walked across the stage to receive her diploma. Fast-forward a couple of years and there she was again, checking off another accomplishment on her list of goals. She graduated from Area 30 Career Center as a Heavy Equipment Operator.

Great successes that she accounts for not only her hard work but also the assistance from Proteus, Inc. Victoria was assisted by Indiana Case Manager, Miriam Sonderborg since the time she was a senior at South Putnam High School.

Victoria utilized a lot of the resources that Proteus had to offer but gained so much primarily from the case management guidance provided by Miriam. Victoria would say, “My dream is to drive a dump truck and move heavy equipment, to have my own apartment, and to be able to provide for myself and help my parents.”

Thanks to the National Farmworker Jobs Program, Victoria now works at Heritage Aggregates LLC, where she drives a dump truck and moves heavy equipment on a daily. This job partnered with Proteus resources like rent-smart has also allowed her to get a place of her own and become a more self-sufficient individual.

We wish Victoria the best and are glad that she continues to take advantage of other Proteus services, making sure she stays on track to achieve new goals.


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Patient Spotlight: Fort Dodge, IA

Nancy Hernandez reminds us that we are not alone in this world and that we must lean on one another during difficult times in order to triumph through moments of tragedy. 


Last fall, Nancy Hernandez called the Fort Dodge, IA Proteus clinic seeking assistance. Hernandez was in her second trimester of a high-risk pregnancy. And to make matters worse, covering the cost of the medication prescribed by her OBGYN that would prevent pre-term birth would be impossible for Hernandez and her family to afford.

Proteus provider, Helen Retleff recalls the urgent telephone encounter; “I was concerned whether we could help Nancy and how quickly we could order specialty medication through our pharmaceutical supplier.” “We needed to confirm financial assistance as soon as possible so I reached out to our clinical director to see what could be done” said Retleff.

Thankfully, the approval for an emergency voucher had come quickly and the specialty medication was available through the supplier as well. Hernandez was elated to hear the news, she shared that; no one had helped her as much or as well as Proteus had.

The whole health team had worked quickly and efficiently to serve a patient in need and they were proud of the work done.

Fast forward a couple of weeks later, the Fort Dodge team receives another phone call from Hernandez. This time she is asking if she can return the specialty medication and to see if Proteus would take any donated newborn items that she had received as gifts and purchased herself anticipating the birth of her child. The news that Hernandez had lost her child had devastated the team.

Immediately they shifted their focus and scheduled Hernandez a follow-up appointment to address her depression concerns.

Over the past few months, Retleff has seen a significant change in Nancy’s disposition. “She’s a different person, much happier and doing so well.” Said Retleff. “We have established a trusting relationship with Nancy, and she has really opened up to us to discuss family planning options. She knows Proteus is here for her.” Just the other day, Hernandez and her family stopped by a mobile clinic in Northwest Iowa and delivered a delicious flan cake. On the box was a sticker that read “Myla’s Bakery” a tribute to her unborn daughter. Nancy has since launched a bakery business where she partners with stores in town to sell her cakes. You can find her services and support her by visiting Myla’s Bakery on Facebook and scheduling an order.

“Desde el principio, Proteus me apoyo. La enfermera Helen fue muy amable y me receto medicamentos que me ayudaron sentirme mejor. Gracias a su programa y a todos. Mi familia y yo nunca olvidaremos lo que han hecho por nosotros.” Says Hernandez.

English translation: “From the beginning, Proteus was there to support me. Helen was very kind and prescribed medications that helped me feel better. Thanks to your program and to everyone. My family and I will never forget what Proteus did for us.”


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 COVID-19 Update:

Proteus, Inc. is once again playing a vital role in the COVID-19 pandemic. 


English Vaccine Push 511 (1)

The Agricultural Health Program has vaccinated over 200 agriculture workers since March 2021. The work continues as it focuses on educating individuals on the importance of taking care of themselves and their community by receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.


If you or someone you know has done agricultural work and is looking to get vaccinated, please call 1(800)372-6031 to schedule an appointment.

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