Veteran and former White House Executive Chef with ALS dedicates chef's jacket to Fresno High

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Eric Amador is a 1988 graduate of Fresno High School. On Friday morning he dedicated his chef's jacket to the graduating class of 2018.

Amador spent time in the Navy and was an Executive Chef for Presidents Barack Obama and George H.W. Bush. In 2014 he was diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

Amador can no longer speak but uses a computer to communicate.

"This presidential chef's jacket is a gift to the class of 2018. The jacket symbolizes you can do anything you want in life. Don't let anything hold you back from your dreams," he said.

The jacket is displayed with photos of Amador and the former Presidents as well as a quote.

"Below there is a quote written and the bottom of the jacket, 'It's not where you start. It's where you end up at the end' because I came up with nothing. Only what my parents could provide me, which was okay, but I felt I wanted more in life," Amador said.

Amador told his story hoping to inspire others and remind them to keep pushing. He explained it took him 20 years to get his degree.

"There will be people in your lives that will tell you 'you're not smart enough. You're not strong enough. It's impossible. It's too late. You have a family now. It costs too much. You'll never amount to nothing and it could never happen'. If you want it bad enough nothing is impossible," he said.

Amador offered some words of wisdom to help them through their next journey.

"You don't need people putting you down in your life. A true friend will always support you. Mentor-ship. I truly believe you should have a mentor in life, someone who is not going to hold punches and tell you like it is," he said.

Principal Bryan Wells said Amador's jacket will be put on display to remind students they too can achieve their dreams.

Wells said he wants to one day add a culinary program to the school.

"Hopefully down the road, we would institute culinary arts program here. With that being said they can see they can reach the highest of dreams," Wells explained.
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