The orgullo, or pride, felt by many Hispanics who are living the American dream is a sentiment expressed by Rigo Lemus, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA). He shares his experience of being both a health-care hero and an American hero. Thank you for serving our country, Rigo, and happy National Hispanic Heritage Month!
“As a recent graduate of the Allegheny School of Anesthesia at Duquesne University, I’m extremely proud to be a Latino CRNA. Being a second-generation immigrant, you are born with the weight of your parents’ dreams and struggles.
My Honduran parents came to this country with little to no English. I was often asked: ‘How could I not be successful if I was born here and know the language?’ This was usually followed with a motivational idiom like, “ponte las pilas,” which I think translates loosely to “put the batteries in.” So, with the “batteries in,” I went to work.
I proudly served in the U.S. Air Force during the Iraq War. Within a week of being honorably discharged, I started nursing school and worked for 10 years as a nurse. I started on a tele-floor and kept moving up until I worked a few years in a CTICU, always believing that one day I would reach my goal of being a CRNA. Now, as I embark on a new career, I am grateful for my Latin roots. All the years of hard work seem to have paid off just like my parents always preached to me: That an immigrant’s son can accomplish anything he puts his mind to with a little hard work and orgullo.”
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