Ramon Resa’s journey from abandoned boy to doctor is a story that will give readers the courage to dare dream of a better life. At age 3, Ramon Resa became a “farmworker boy,” picking cotton, oranges, and grapes in California’s Central Valley. Raised by his Mexican grandparents as one of 15 children, his world was one of poverty, neglect, abuse, and total disregard for education. It was his grade-school teachers who opened his eyes to the idea of going to college and becoming a doctor.
The odds stacked against him—poverty, low self-esteem, a speech impediment, recurring depression, and prejudice—were overwhelming.
When his grandparents urged him to give up his dream and get a factory job so he could pay them back for taking him in, he almost caved in. But, armed only with his stubborn belief in himself and the love and support of his college sweetheart Debbie, now his wife of more than 30 years, he persisted and finished medical school. Then he returned to the Central Valley and opened his pediatric practice, where he has spent two decades working with poor and under served children like the child he was.
Ramon’s story has inspired students, parents, educators, and businesspeople nationwide. In Out of the Fields, he speaks from the heart to anyone who dreams of creating a better tomorrow.
Besides being a dedicated education advocate, Ramon is passionate about children’s health issues such as obesity, diabetes, and premature heart health problems, and the dangers of stress and over-programmed lifestyles.
He is also active in community and service organizations such as Rotary and was dubbed “a one-man tornado” for helping to raise more than $100,000 to buy new uniforms for the Porterville high-school band.
He is living proof of how perseverance, resilience, hope, and education can give meaning to a life, and give life to our communities.
He never dreamed of becoming a doctor, or even of attending college, until his elementary school teachers opened his eyes to the idea of getting an education.
Even his grandparents tried to kill his dream, insisting that he should get a factory job to pay them back for taking him in. And he had to pay for his college and even medical school education by going back into the fields to work during vacations and summer breaks.
After finishing medical school, he returned to the Central Valley and opened a private practice in the small town of Porterville.
Many of his patients are poor and underserved children much like the child he was.
“I see myself in the children who come from farmworker families,” he says. “I want to be a role model for them – someone who cares for their minds and spirits as well as their bodies.”