TAMPA, Fla. — Training to be a firefighter is difficult, so imagine doing that and studying to become an American citizen at the same time.
A new firefighter with Hillsborough County Fire Rescue did exactly that – fulfilling some of his lifelong dreams.
HCFR says firefighter Anthony Torres grew up in Havana, Cuba. He dreamed of being a firefighter when he was a kid but was discouraged from pursuing that career because firefighters in Cuba don't have access to many resources.
When Torres was a teenager, HCFR says his grandfather sponsored him and his mother to move to the U.S. Torres moved here when he was 15, attending high school in Tampa and sparking that passion for fire service.
Just a few weeks ago, Torres completed quite the feat: earning his U.S. citizenship all while finishing his training to be a Hillsborough County firefighter. He's the first to do so in the county.
HCFR says hiring Torres was especially important as HCFR works to increase the number of firefighters who speak multiple languages. The agency adds there are many languages spoken across Hillsborough County by residents, and many residents are more comfortable discussing medical issues with rescue personnel in their native language.
Congratulations Firefighter Torres!