From serving pizzas to serving our country, a Mexican immigrant’s American dream

Posted at 2:26 PM, Nov 30, 2016

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - For the last three years, Diego Romo has been filling orders in the kitchen of Donatos Pizza in Newport News, but tomorrow, he will complete his last shift.

Next week, Diego will take his first step in fulfilling one of his lifelong dreams, by going to Navy Boot Camp.

"I am ready, I can't wait for something I won't ever forget," shared Diego.

It's a dream the Mexican immigrant knew would require hard work and dedication, but he did not give up on it. Diego's goal of joining the Navy began shortly after he and his family moved from Mexico to the United States, seeking a better life. They were in their new home watching the movie "Navy Seals."

"I found it really exciting," said Diego. "I want to do that and serve this country because it's done a lot for me and my family and everyone. "

The desire to serve the United States stayed with Diego as he grew up, and turned into a calling when he began working at Donatos. Just two doors down from the pizza shop  is a Navy Recruiting office.

"When I first started working here every time I went to work I was over there and it was calling me name," said Diego.

Before enlisting, Diego had to become a citizen. He knew it was possible to get his citizenship while in service, but decided to accomplish the goal with his family. In between his shifts at Donatos, Diego and his sister studied and passed their citizenship tests together.

"We all got our citizenship it was amazing I was really happy."

But one man's happiness is another's disappointment.

"At first you don't want to lose an employee but understanding that he had a mission that was very apparent and we want to support him in any way that we could," said Les Storhaug, one of Diego's bosses at Donatos.

Diego was one of the original crew members hired in the Newport News location. He began as a dish washer and eventually worked his way up to becoming one of their fastest pizza makers.

"Every employer would love to have 25 employees like Diego because he just exemplifies everything about a employee that you really want," explained Storhaug.

Diego's last day at Donatos will be on Thursday, Dec. 1, it will be the last day he will serve customers before serving our country at boot camp in Great Lakes, Illinois.