Belvidere Native Becomes Their First Latino Firefighter
After more than 130 years, the Belvidere Fire Department has hired its first Latino.
It's hard to believe it hasn't already happened given the large amount of Latinos that live in the city. The U.S. Census data states that nearly three in ten Belvidere residents are Hispanic.
Adrian Trujillo is the groundbreaker, becoming the first person with a Hispanic background to join the department.
He joins as a Probationary Firefighter.
"I love being a part of that history. It amazes me. I know, growing up, I never saw [Hispanic representation]. So, just being able to be that role model and be that person, be that bridge between that community and the rest of the community, is great!"
Trujillo was born and raised in Belvidere and graduated from Belvidere High School. After HS, he went to the Western Illinois University where he studied Fire Science.
Belvidere Fire Captain Shawn Schadele has said that having Adrian is wonderful:
"Twenty-five percent of Belvidere's population speaks Spanish or can speak Spanish. So, that's one in four. So, there's definitely been times, on calls, where I've tried my best to do the Spanish that I've learned through school and through college, and having someone, like Adrian, on the scene to really connect with people during those times... EMS calls and assisting people is a large part of what we do."
Schadele has also said that Trujillo's love of community and his job have made is a blessing to have him on the department.
Congrats Adrian and good luck on the job!