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Hispanic essential workers who are making a difference in the community

Patricia Palomino cleaning critical care units at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center
Lilly Armijo scanning products at a grocery store in San Luis Obispo.
Frankie Avildres working as a engineer paramedic for Cal Fire SLO
Posted at 6:44 PM, Oct 15, 2021

Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated from Sept. 15, 2021, through Oct. 15, 2021, to recognize the contributions of the Hispanic community.

Essential workers faced moments of uncertainty and fear of bringing the virus home.

“It definitely played a role on us with fatigue and the number of calls we were getting,” said Frankie Alvidrez, who works as an engineer paramedic for Cal Fire SLO.

According to San Luis Obispo County Public Health, Latinos were one of the most vulnerable ethnic group. In the county, 30% of the positive cases were among Hispanics even though, they are only 22% of the population.

Patricia Palomino is an environmental services staff member at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center. Palomino said she got the virus at a family reunion, so not only did she see COVID-19 at work while disinfecting areas with sick patients but also at home.

Palomino who was born in Mexico said she is proud of keeping the community safe by deep cleaning critical care units at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center.

First responders like Frankie Alvidres walked to a scene selflessly and were forced to make sacrifices.

“Going home to a one-year-old and five-year-old and not being able to love on them, kiss them, hug them, it plays a role and wear on you,” explained Alvidres. “Sleeping in other rooms.”

Working at a grocery store, it was not any different for Lilly Aramijo who identifies as Mexican-American.

“Not being able to see my dad due to him having cancer so not being able to see him frequently was a lot harder for me […] especially taking the risk of coming to work every single day knowing that I am risking my life just to help others," Armijo, who works at a Von’s in San Luis Obispo. “I did recently lose him [her father].”

Plus dealing with customers with constant face mask mandates.

“At first it was okay because it is what we had to do but as it progressed it got harder,” added Armijo.

At the end of the day, these heroes pushed through each in their field.

“All grocery stores open is the most essential thing, we are just like first responders, we are the first store everybody comes to,” said Armijo.

Palomino said she is proud to be Hispanic because of the delicious food present in her culture.

“I come from a large extended family, so traditions are very big for us,” said Armijo.

For Alvidres, it is about the family values he learned from his parents and grandparents.

“It's definitely nice to hear that your father is proud of you,” said Alvidres. “He stressed the importance of education.”