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Interest Stories

A Strong Sense of Service and Helping Others: Enrique L., Firefighter

06/20/20223 minutes

Hoosier Hero

Enrique didn’t just become a firefighter by chance. He became a firefighter to achieve a lifelong dream and fulfill his family’s legacy.

Enrique was born in Guatemala and moved to Chicago with his family when he was nine months old. When he was 16 they moved to Lakes of the Four Seasons, Indiana, where he became a volunteer firefighter at 17 after being inspired by his dad, a firefighter of 33 years.

Now, Enrique is a firefighter at the Hobart Fire Department.

“Growing up, my dad would always tell me stories and I really looked up to him,” Enrique said. “There’s a picture of me as a little kid dressed up as a firefighter and now it's actually true, which is pretty cool.”

Some of Enrique’s favorite aspects of being a firefighter involve his co-workers.

“We love to make meals together and sit like a family. We call it Firehouse Talks,” he said. “We all sit around and eat our food and try to solve the world’s problems.”

Enrique also appreciates how the group bonds outside of work, doing cookouts and going to sporting events with their families. “You have their lives in your hands and you have your life in their hands,” Enrique said. “So it's really important to be able to trust each other and feel that connection.”

His proudest moment as a firefighter came when his kids visited his fire station. “They thought it was the coolest thing in the world, and it made me feel kind of like a superhero to them,” he said. “Seeing my kids look at me like that was probably the best feeling ever.”

Enrique’s sense of service and giving back also led him to join the National Guard at age 26. He was part of a select few who attended airborne school where he learned how to jump out of airplanes – a dream come true for someone who thrives on adventure and adrenaline. “I was considered one of the old guys,” he joked. “I was keeping up with all the 18-year-olds, which showed I still had some drive in me.”

While retirement is still a long way away for Enrique, having a pension played a big role in how he chose his career. “Feeling secure in retirement is so important. I had an opportunity to go to a different department in a different state, and I didn't go because their retirement wasn’t very well funded,” he said. “I know Indiana is one of the best funded pensions out there.”

In his free time, Enrique enjoys hiking the Indiana Dunes and riding his motorcycle.

When asked what advice he’d give to someone thinking of becoming a firefighter, Enrique said, “It’s a career where you give more than you get back, but you become rich in other ways.”

The Hoosier Lottery would like to extend our sincere gratitude to Enrique and all the other firefighters who make a huge difference in the lives of so many, each and every day.

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