Adrian Trujillo became the first person of a Hispanic background to join the Belvidere Fire Department last week.
“I think it’s awesome,” he said.
Trujillo is a Probationary Firefighter with the Belvidere Fire Department.
“I love being a part of that history. It amazes me. I know, growing up, I never saw [Hispanic representation]. So, just being able to be that role model and be that person, be that bridge between that community and the rest of the community, is great!” he said.
According to U.S. Census data, nearly three in ten Belvidere residents are Hispanic. But, after more than 130 years, Trujillo is the first to serve in the department.
“Yeah, it’s wonderful to have Adrian,” said Captain Shawn Schadele. “Twenty-five percent of Belvidere’s population speaks Spanish or can speak Spanish. So, that’s one in four. So, there’s definitely been times, on calls, where I’ve tried my best to do the Spanish that I’ve learned through school and through college, and having someone, like Adrian, on the scene to really connect with people during those times… EMS calls and assisting people is a large part of what we do.”
Trujillo was born and raised in Belvidere. He graduated from Belvidere High School and then went to Western Illinois University to study Fire Science.
He also interned at the Belvidere Fire Department. After that, he was hooked.
“One Chief showed me everything around here and said, ‘hey, this could be a career for you,’ I just kind of looked into it, more into it, and I just loved how they’re all family and team oriented and how everyone just works together,” Trujillo said. “And, in the job itself, it’s something new everyday, so you just love coming into work.”
Not only does he love his job, but he shares the same love for the community.
“He grew up in this community, so he has deep roots in the community,” said Schadele. “He just cares so much about it, and so it just comes natural for him to serve it as well.”
That’s why he says Trujillo is the perfect man for the job.
“I’d just like to thank my mom, my dad, my whole family, and my community, and the Belvidere Fire Department for helping me out and getting me to where I am today,” he said.