GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --
The 17th Training Wing recognizes and celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month, and how every members’ diversity make the force stronger. Each week from September 15 - October 15, the 17th TRW highlights members of different Hispanic backgrounds and experiences.
This week’s spotlight is on Master Sgt. Marvin Gutierrez, 17th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron physical therapy and optometry flight chief.
What is your job?
I currently work at the 17th Medical Group at Ross Clinic. My Air Force Specialty Code is 4V0X1 and I have enjoyed it for over 15 years. I have had the opportunity to treat patients in various places stateside and overseas. I love taking care of our military members and their families ensuring that their vision is not clouded when they are completing their mission. In optometry we see patients for; yearly eye exams, eye disorders, laser eye surgery referrals, and more. One of the best opportunities I have in this career field is taking these skills and applying them in developing countries around the world. During these humanitarian missions we can reach thousands within a few days and change their lives dramatically. It is amazing how different your life can be with a simple pair of glasses.
Tell us about your Hispanic heritage.
I was born in Mexico but grew up in Idaho, Colorado, Texas, and Indiana. Most people ask if I was a military brat growing up given how often we moved, but it was our life as immigrants that made us explore new territories. Shortly after I was born in Juarez, Mexico my mother and father decided that in order to provide a better opportunity for their kids, we needed to move to the United States. Being from Mexico much of my ancestral lineage comes from Spain and Indigenous Mexican descent. Mexican culture is very present in the United States, and we can see it with traditions like quinceaneras, mariachis, and the glorious Mexican food.
What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?
Hispanic Heritage month is a time to honor and celebrate the accomplishments of our Hispanic brothers, sisters and organizations and how they have contributed to society. It’s an opportunity to introduce cultures, customs and history to those who may not have known the significance of Hispanic heritage before. It’s also a chance for everyone to indulge in various cuisines from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central, and South America.
What’s one aspect of your heritage that you feel very strongly about?
I feel a big part of any heritage is and always will be food. What items are chosen as food, how it’s cooked and most importantly how it’s eaten is very dominating when describing a culture. I may be biased but I believe Mexican food is the most delicious food in the world. Mexican food speaks to my body and soul whether it be tamales, tacos or chiles rellenos. There are an extensive number of dishes in Mexican culture, and they wouldn’t be the same without the influence of both Indigenous Mexicans and Spanish.
What Hispanic public figure, past or present, inspires you and why?
A Hispanic public figure who inspires me is Cesar Milan. In many ways his story is closely related to the story of so many that come to this country having to learn a new language and create new identities and lives here. He has spent his life helping people connect with animals and has learned how to make a career doing that. The opportunity to do what one loves is part of the American dream and I believe he exemplifies that. He makes me proud to be a Mexican and an American.