The Valley Hispanic Bomberos handed out scholarships at Fire Station 154 to a pair of Glendale seniors to pave the way in beginning their firefighting careers.
Cesar Arvisu, a graduate of Glendale High School, and Arturo Pedrego, a graduate of Independence High School, were each given scholarships in the amount of $1,000.
“It’s just, giving back is part of the fire department culture,” said Greg Morales, vice president of the Valley Hispanic Bomberos. “It’s part of our history, it’s part of our tradition as firefighters as part of this organization, is giving back to the communities where a lot of us come from.
“These young men and women in these programs, sometimes they need a little assistance. That’s where our mentorship program tries to guide them. We help them and teach them because they’re the next generation of firefighters.”
Established in 1986 by a group of Phoenix firefighters, the Valley Hispanic Bomberos is a nonprofit organization that utilizes a “grass-roots” approach to educate the community. Part of that approach is its mentorship program, which is aimed at helping young men and women achieve a career in the fire service.
Students can receive a scholarship through this program by having goals to become a firefighter, while showing exemplary work ethic and excelling in their programs.
“These are the results that you get when you partner with each other and do good things in our community,” Vice Mayor Jamie Aldama said.
Arvisu and Pedrego were going through the Fire Science Program offered by the Glendale Union High School District when they were hand-selected by their respective fire science instructors to receive the scholarships.
The former seniors see this as a huge honor, and both will use the funds from the scholarship to get their EMT certifications at Glendale Community College.
“It’s a big blessing,” Arvisu said. “It’s an honor to receive this scholarship from just great people.”
“It means a lot,” Pedrego added. “It gives me the opportunity to not only do this, but further my career.”
For Arvisu, he is looking forward to a career in firefighting. He draws similarities between that career path and a family-type atmosphere.
“I know that this program was family based, and I really wanted to get into it because I see the relationship that firefighters have with one another as family, as a brotherhood, and that’s something that I wanted to get into,” he said.
Pedrego hopes for a career in firefighting as well, but ultimately, he said he wants to get a job working in a hospital.
Morales, who works as a firefighter in Phoenix, said 100% of the money fundraised and donated to the Valley Hispanic Bomberos goes directly into the education system and mentorship program.
“You have to have guidance, and the only way that you do that is by being taught and being mentored by firefighters, learning the culture, learning the expectations. Our membership program does exactly that,” he said. “We teach them exactly what they need to do step by step to achieve their goals.
“It’s up to them. They have to put in the work and do all the work themselves, but we guide them, we watch them, and the ones that really achieve this and really work hard are the ones that are deserving.”
Donations can be made to the Valley Hispanic Bomberos at vhbomberos.org.