Hispanic firefighter group helps community, mentors others to join service
PHOENIX – The Valley Hispanic Bomberos, a nonprofit group of firefighters, are rooted in culture and tradition with the goal of protecting their communities while mentoring others to join them in the fire service.
The organization is made up of roughly 1,200 members, and for many of them, they serve the same communities they grew up in.
“As our organization, we like to focus on the neighborhoods that most of us grew up in, you know – I grew up in Maryvale,” Valley Hispanic Bomberos Vice President Greg Morales told KTAR News 92.3 FM.
Morales prides himself in organizing and leading community events in neighborhoods with large Hispanic populations.
Those events vary from drowning prevention, car-seat safety and anything that the firefighters can help educate their communities about.
“They relate to us, they see us as Hispanic firefighters and we come out and talk to them,” Morales said, adding many members of the organization are bilingual.
But the Bomberos focus on more than just community service.
The group also prides itself in mentorship, encouraging the next generation to become firefighters in their communities.
Both Morales and Valley Hispanic Bomberos President Danny Fraijo are products of the mentorship program.
Fifteen years later, the two continue to help aspiring firefighters learn more about the job as well as prepare them physically and educationally for the career.
“We coach them on how to get the best out of themselves to go into that interview, to be successful to be a firefighter,” Fraijo said.
Once a person is hired, they join a fire service family and the Bomberos don’t take that lightly. They are there for each other for anything – through both the good and hard times.
Earlier this month, the bond of the fire service was on full display when the Bomberos lost one of their own.
The Phoenix Fire Department on Sept. 6 announced the passing of firefighter Miguel Angulo, a 15-year veteran who died after a long battle with COVID-19.
Firefighters from across the Valley rallied around Phoenix firefighters to support them following Angulo’s death. During this difficult time, the Bomberos also supported his family and plan to continue that for the foreseeable future.
“That’s not just a Bomberos thing, that’s a fire department family thing,” Fraijo said.
The Valley Hispanic Bomberos currently do not have any community events planned due to COVID-19, but the nonprofit group continues to mentor any aspiring firefighters.
Those interested in joining the mentorship program can contact the group’s leadership through their social media.