Hispanic Heritage: A family’s manifestation of hope
By Airman 1st Class Courtney Sebastianelli, 23d Wing Public Affairs
/ Published September 29, 2021
MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga --
National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated Sept. 15 – Oct. 15 and highlights the accomplishments and contributions of Hispanic Americans. This year’s theme, Esperanza: A Celebration of Hispanic Heritage and Hope, invites service members to reflect on how Hispanic Americans have demonstrated resiliency and hope within the country.
At Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, one family truly demonstrates pride in Hispanic Heritage and the manifestation of hope.
2nd Lt. Armando Colorado, his wife, Cynthia, and her brother Airman 1st Class Louis Reyes are all serving at Moody and their stories share a common theme.
Colorado, 23rd Logistics Readiness Squadron material management flight commander, moved to the United States from Mexico with his family when he was 10 years old.
“Coming to the states and seeing, ‘Wow’ … there is so much opportunity here,” Colorado said. “All you have to do is learn as much as you can, work hard and do what you have to do. I come from a place in the world where, in a way, you are deprived of that. You don’t see as many open doors.”
At the age of 17, living as a permanent resident and recognizing the many opportunities the military could provide, Colorado enlisted into the Air Force. This decision allowed him to gain his citizenship.
“Here in the United States Air Force, when you come in as an Airman, right away you have access to education paid through (tuition assistance),” he said. “You have excellent opportunities at work, and there’s just so much room for growth.”
The hope Colorado’s family manifested by coming from Mexico to the United States is now reflected in his outlook.
“As Hispanics, we are proud of where we come from,” he continued. “We are all proud of our service. In a way, we do it to honor the real sacrifice our parents made in moving their entire life. They came to America, had no community, didn’t know the language and they still prospered. I feel like our service to the country and to what they did just makes it all worth it.”
Cynthia, a 23rd Medical Support Squadron patient travel coordinator, also honors the sacrifices her family made to give her the opportunity to serve.
“We saw a lot of the struggle our parents had to go through,” Cynthia said. “They had to work multiple jobs just to make ends meet. Now, it feels good to be able to show them that all the hard work they put in and all they sacrificed was worth it, that it wasn’t all in vain. We are taking advantage of the opportunities they wanted for us. It makes us even prouder to serve.”
The resilience of Cynthia’s parents inspired her to serve in an array of capacities. She has served as enlisted Air Force, National Guard, as well as the Reserves. Cynthia is scheduled to commission back into active duty as an officer early next year.
“My sister played a big part of me joining,” said Reyes, a 23rd LRS vehicle maintenance technician. “She was the first in our family to join the armed forces. Her taking that leap of faith and not knowing what she was getting into excited me. She set the precedent not just for me, but also my little sister.”
The generational evolution of hope has been a driving factor in shaping Reyes. Now stationed at Moody with his sister and brother-in-law, Reyes is able to recognize the value of his service.
“Being in the Air Force for me means more than just wearing the uniform and coming to work,” Reyes said. “It’s helped me develop my leadership skills and personal skills more. Overall, being in the Air Force has given me a foundation to grow and has helped me be an inspiration for future Hispanic generations.”
Celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month allows all service members to reflect on the contributions of Hispanic Americans by celebrating contributions that foster diversity and inclusion.
“There is a place for you,” Colorado said. “There is a place for all of us. Success doesn’t come because you are from this place or that place. No, you’re going to be successful because you add value to the team. As long as you do the right things, you live up to the core values — which is the great equalizer — success is for everybody, regardless of where you’re from.”