BAKERSFIELD, Cali — 23ABC is celebrating Hispanic Latino Heritage Month by highlighting those in the community who are making a difference.
For Bakersfield Firefighter, Jesus Juarez, Hispanic Heritage Latino Heritage Month is something he is proud to celebrate because he believes celebrating his culture is celebrating family .
“To me I think it’s just kind of a way to look back and admire and also take in the culture,” Jesus Juarez, Firefighter for the Bakersfield Fire Department, said.
Juarez has been a firefighter in Bakersfield for nearly 5 years and he says it has been a dream of his since he was young.
“I wanted to do something where i could work with the community, give back and help, and I also like working with my hands, I knew I didn’t want to sit behind a desk,” Juarez said.
But, it hasn’t always been easy for Juarez being a Hispanic firefighter.
“I remember going on a call once and someone mentioned ‘oh, I didn’t think Hispanics could be firefighters,” Juarez said.
But, comments like these never stopped Juarez from working hard in order to keep the Bakersfield community safe.
“He’s been a very active employee, he’s involved with our rescue programs, search and rescue, search water, and he brings a solid package to our organization and will most likely one day will be one of our future leaders,” Michael Walkley, Public Information Officer for the Bakersfield Fire Department, said.
Not only is work important to Juarez, but for him, part of his culture is celebrating family.
“We were always over at my Grandparent's house, we had cousins over, aunts, uncles, so coming from a very close, active, family setting,” Juarez said.
Juarez has carried on that tradition with his own family, by making time for his 3 children and making sure they learn the importance of their Hispanic culture.
“There are days at home where my wife and i will say we are only speaking Spanish today, just because we want to make sure that carries on within our kids,” Juarez said.
Not only does he teach his children his Hispanic traditions, but he also wants them to know that no matter who you are, or where you come from, you can do and be anything you want.
“It’s nice to be able to go back especially when you see a little kid, and you know you can kind of relate," Juarez said. "And I always tell my guys, you never know that could be the next chief one day.”