‘We Are Utah’ isn’t forgetting the state’s rural roots

Utah Success Stories

(NEWS4UTAH – SALT LAKE CITY, UT) Imagine a small village speckled with traditional white cottages. The ocean breeze in your face as you board a ship towards a new land of opportunity in a place called Utah.

John Saltas, President of Copperfield Publishing, agrees strongly about the importance of heritage. He put it well: “I don’t think we should ever forget who we are and where we come from. That’s a mistake.”

It’s clear that John’s ties to his heritage are strong; “On my Saltas side it was simple. George Saltas. His wife was a Pappasideris. They were from the same village in Greece called Megara. My grandfather from my mother’s side was from Crete. In the United States he went as Mike Nepolis. In Greek his name was Emmanuel Nempavlakis or as they would say in Crete, Nempavlakis.”

As Saltas gave me a tour of his offices, you can’t help but notice some large paintings on the wall. I asked him what they meant to him.  “Everything. My home. My heart. Everything about me goes back to Bingham Canyon. “

With ancestors that include Greeks miners and members of the Mormon Battalion, John remembers the past, but also looks to the future. “When my grandparents came over here there was segregation. The Greeks over there. The locals over here. Period. The end. It was only the rarity, like my grandfather and others that married into the local culture or vice versa. That was then, today there’s a lot of blending and we are all learning to get along. There’s no reason to be divisive. we eat from the same table. We grow the same crops. We breath the same air. Let’s quit this kind of stuff and be one. That’s where I come from. I want to be one.”

Part of that future is a new magazine called, ‘We Are Utah’, as well as a collaboration with Accelerant, a match maker of sorts for training and jobs for Utah’s rural workers. 

Joel McKay Smith, CEO – of Accelerant Business Solutions Provider stated; “People need to understand that rural Utahans are valuable…they have the ability to be problem solvers, they don’t want to lose their community. They don’t want to lose their most precious commodity…their people, because the only opportunities are in the urban corridor.”

John agreed; “Anything that we can do to embrace our rural roots. Whether it’s through job creation.  … or just to know it’s good enough to be there and stay there. We need to never forget that rural side of us. We can’t. Those are our roots. “

Lessons learned and passed on to the next generation. Thanks to Copper. Coal and Cooperation. Vera Caldwell & Mike Nepolis would be proud of their grandson. John Saltas summed it up well; “It was a good blend… on their gravestone, I’ve got a handcart of one side and a Greek Christian Cross…64 years together. They figured it out. People can work together. Yeah it is a Utah Success Story.”

With another Utah Success Story, I’m Doug Jessop.

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