Thirteen years later, young Whitfield County man receives - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Thirteen years later, young Whitfield County man receives his reward

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Sergio Triana won after reading the most books in Whitfield County in 2001.  Schools and individuals were chosen for the prizes based off how many books they had read for the year.  Every winner received a cash prize.

However, Sergio Triana was missing one thing that kept him from getting it, until now.
It was a program that started in the late 1990's where Beaulieu employees read to students in the surrounding counties.
"We used to give away cash awards to the counties that read the most books and students that read the most books."

In 2001 the company awarded the prize to then 8-year old, Sergio Triana, for being the top reader in Whitfield County.

"It's nervous, and it's a lot of pressure and I have a brother and a sister and I'm the biggest and I know I have to be a role model for them no matter what."

But the 1-thousand dollar savings bond came with a catch.      

"One of the things the bonds required in those days was you had to give them a Social Security Number in order to get it."

Something Sergio didn't have just yet.  He was still going through the process to become an American citizen.
"We committed to the fact that whenever he was able to get it taken care of, we would give him his award."  And 13 years later, he was ready to accept.

"I went to my 3rd grade teacher to tell her about my legal status and she was the one who reminded me. That's your award, and you should write them a letter and reclaim it."

It was a commitment the company was happy to keep, "We were thrilled to do that.  It was just a great opportunity for us to think back to a really good time we really enjoyed it and to honor one of the best students that came through."
"It was a long time, but I feel proud of myself and my family for what we've gone through."

Sergio is now in his second year of college.  He says he plans to put the money in the bank, and possibly invest it for the future.

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