Work leads to volunteering, which leads to work...

Posted on February 27, 2018

Fernando Almanza started working at Vail Public Safety which led to a whole world of learning, teaching, volunteering and making a difference in his community - all of which are key tenets for Fernando, who is only 25.

Fernando Almanzo
“I have been living in the valley for about 15 years, and am a firm believer that it is our duty to give back to this wonderful community (after all we work and live here),” shares Fernando. “Also I have too many people to credit for my success through the years, but if I may I would like to add that without them I would not be the person that I am today. A friend once told me that you always have to do more service than you are paid for, and for now I am paying in advance as much as I can.”

Obviously, Fernando’s giving back started a long time ago but he kicked it into high gear about a year ago when his boss at the Vail Public Safety Communications Center, Marc Wentworth, encouraged him to take Family Leadership Training Institute series. And a new project and passion for Fernando was born. FLTI is designed to create new leaders in the community and the individual tackles a leadership project. Fernando created First Responders, Heroes in the Shadows,’ which helps people be better prepared when calling 911.

“I have successfully given this presentation to over 450 people in Eagle County and I am working on doubling those numbers this year,” Fernando, a 911 dispatcher, says. His work is paying off: “I have been acknowledged by numerous organizations for the impact I am creating in the community.”

Unlike some who complain about volunteering, Fernando looks for opportunities and takes on roles with excitement. Fernando explains that his opportunities all came together thanks to his job as a 911 dispatcher with the Vail Public Safety.

When he’s not at work or giving presentations, Fernando isn’t sitting at home. He is involved with - get ready for a long list - a Community Board Member for Communities that Care, Special Olympics 5k and Polar Plunge, FLTI, First Responders, Heroes in the Shadows, Mobile Communications Unit Dispatcher, Bright Future Foundation Buddy Mentor, Volunteer Facebook Admin for “Comite Asesor para Inmigrantes y Agencias”, and also Facebook Admin for CTC, Emergency 911 Certified Bilingual Dispatcher English/Spanish, American Sign Language aspirant, 2018 NENA/APCO State Conference Class Instructor, snowboarder… and he may have forgotten a few.

"Fernando has been a huge asset as a community board member for Eagle County CTC," shares Molly Hadley, CTC program coordinator. "He has knowledge of the valley from growing up here and is motivated to help make a difference wherever he can. He is an exceptional young leader and our valley is lucky to have his wisdom, warm personality, and drive helping out with so many projects."

Maybe you heard about the crazies who opted to participate in the Polar Plunge/Freezin’ for a Reason; a fundraiser for Special Olympics Colorado? Fernando was the catalyst behind that too. This year his team raised from the Plunge and a 5K - and $5,400 overall for the event.
The lesson learned here is that one small step can lead to a huge change in the world. Thanks for all you do, Fernando!

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Eagle River Youth Coalition - Making Youth a Community Priority
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