News: Against all odds: Sailor provides better life for family
Story by Sgt. Sarah Fiocco
MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. – Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Michael James Soliven, a biomedical equipment technician with 1st Dental Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, against all odds, is now providing a better life for his family as a dedicated sailor aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif.
Long before finding his way to the United States, the now 40-year old Soliven was raised in the Philippines by a traditional family. One of the traditions in the Philippines is that a man should not court a lady until he can provide for a family on his own.
“Despite the tradition, I was trying to court my … wife, at an early age, but she turned me down, and I tried again a few years later and she turned me down again,” recalled Soliven. “It wasn’t until much later that I tried again and I guess I got lucky because she said yes, and we started dating when we were in our freshman year of college.”
In 2000, the couple became parents with the birth of their daughter, Beatrice Soliven, now 14 years old.
Around this time, Soliven’s mother, who moved to the U.S. in 1987, filed a petition to bring her children to the states, Soliven, and his younger brother.
“My brother came here before me, and he came down to the Philippines for vacation,” said Soliven. “I saw he was living the life. He was paying for everything when we went out, and when I asked him what he did, he said he was a corpsman in the Navy.”
After his mother filed the petition, and he saw the success his brother had, Soliven set off to the states on his own to find a better future for his family.
After enlisting in the Navy and graduating his recruit and initial training, Soliven took vacation to the Philippines and married his wife, Angelica A. Soliven.
“I guess you could say, as cheesy as it sounds, it is like a fairy tale,” said Soliven. “You could call it true love, it was very painful to leave them, but it was worth it in the end.”
In addition to being a family man, Soliven is a leader in the Navy where he works hard repairing medical equipment while ensuring the welfare of his sailors.
“I think his family is his primary motivation,” said Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Jessica Burton, a dental assistant who has worked with Soliven for nearly two years at 1st Dental Bn., 1st MLG.
According to Soliven, his primary goal every day is to bring happiness to someone or make someone smile.
“He never complains, and never turns someone away when they need help,” said Burton, a native of Anchorage, Alaska.
According to Soliven, his goal every day is to make someone smile and make their life a little happier. He sees his sailors as his own family, and strives to set an example for them to follow.
“He is an excellent sailor and an excellent leader,” said Burton. “He never makes any excuses, and he has a personality that you aspire to [emulate]; a true role model.”