VIDEO: 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."