Lorena Yenith Oplinger – Wildman Business Group – Kosciusko By Choice
Tuesday, April 18, 2023
As a transplant to Warsaw from Bogota, Colombia, Lorena Yenith Oplinger has a unique perspective on Kosciusko County.
“I grew up in Colombia and moved to Goshen, Indiana with my family 19 years ago and I attended high school there,” Lorena explains. “I married my husband Matt and we decided to move to Warsaw several years later.”
Lorena’s family moved to the United States because there was so much violence in their home country. “My parents were trying to do their best to protect us and give us a better life,” says Lorena.
Lorena’s Love For Kosciusko County
Even though moving to Kosciusko County was a big transition, Lorena loves being a part of this community. When she first began working in the area she was commuting to and from Goshen, which caused so much stress driving, especially in the winter months.
She and her husband made the move to Warsaw 11 years ago.
“Our family is here, my kids are growing up in Warsaw and they love the community and their involvement in the YMCA. It’s interesting that the YMCA opened up so many opportunities for us to get to know people and do events. We love it!”
Wildman Business Group
Lorena’s first job in Warsaw was working as a receptionist at an eye doctor’s office, then later working for an orthopedic company, and then working as as receptionist at the local YMCA. She now works at Wildman Business Group as their Human Resources Coordinator.
“Wildman is a family-based business that is also a Christian-oriented company,” says Lorena. “They provide laundry products and services to many companies in and outside of this area. My role as the Human Resources Coordinator is to help employees by assisting them with compensation and benefits.”
When asked what brought her to Wildman, Lorena said, “The thing that Wildman values the most is seeing their employees succeed in every area of their lives. You know, you don’t see that many companies do that, putting their employees first.”
The company is in the process of a building expansion and is actively seeking new employees who want to be a part of the Wildman Business Group family.
“Working for Wildman is amazing, I couldn’t be in a better place right now. This is a family-oriented and Christian-based company. They want you to grow in different areas of your life, in your physical and your emotional and your spiritual life.”
A Thriving Hispanic Community
When asked how she and her family connect with the community around them, Lorena says she loves being a part of an organization called Todos Juntos.
Todos Juntos is a nonprofit organization that hosts community events year-round like career fairs, festivals, and Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations.
“My favorite event Todos Juntos held was YMCA because it was a big event where everybody in the community was invited. I was one of the planners and organizers of that event and I loved everything about it. It was an amazing experience to see so many people from different backgrounds, from different cultures coming together.”
The Future Of Todos Juntos
It was a struggle for Todos Juntos and other organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that people are starting to be able to gather and celebrate together again, Lorena is excited for the future of Todos Juntos.
“Every year at least we try to host or support one or two community events. One is usually a career fair for high schoolers and the other is Feria Guadalupana.”
“One of the events that I enjoy the most with Todos Juntos is the Feria Guadalupana because it’s an event that brings the whole Hispanic community together to celebrate, says Lorena.
“I love everything about it, but especially the food and the children dancing and performing. It brings joy not just to me, but I also see other people teaching their kids to keep their roots and traditions and share them with their community. And that’s something unique and very inspirational.”
A Warm Welcome From Kosciusko County
When asked what her favorite part of being a Kosciusko County resident was, Lorena said, “It is a very welcoming, conservative, open community. Since we’ve been here, people have been very nice. My kids have wonderful teachers in school and my husband and I have many friends here. People here are very warm and embracing. It doesn’t matter that I’m not American, they have been very, very welcoming.”
One of the unique things Lorena has experienced living and working in Kosciusko County is that whenever someone needs help, the community steps up to offer support.
“I knew I was accepted and felt embraced by this community during Hispanic Heritage Month. People came to events to learn more about Hispanic culture. It was amazing to see how many people were interested in learning more about South America and Central America.”
Lorena explains how impactful that event was for her, as often the world is so divided. Knowing that she lives in a community where people see everyone as humans who support one another means so much to her.
“There are people that can still see the good, that we are more than skin color, language, and things like that. They’re very supportive, they’re very appreciative, and this has been a blessing in itself.”
Sharing Colombian Culture
When asked if she could share something unique about Colombian culture, Lorena said, “Oh, we’re big huggers and kissers. You normally don’t see that in the American culture; however, most of the Americans that I know, even my husband, are receptive to the friendliness and warmth of Colombian people. We are happy people.”
Kosciusko By Choice
Kosciusko by Choice is an ongoing video series highlighting the stories of individuals who have chosen to make their home in Kosciusko County. Stay tuned for the next video in the series!