Our Newest American Citizen

All the doctors and staff at Trinity are very happy to celebrate with

Joaquin Lara his recent naturalization as an American citizen. Joaquin

joined our team in July and works primarily with Dr. Duey as his

medical assistant. The Naturalization Ceremony was held in a Bexar

County Courtroom October 18 th . Joaquin shared his story and

perspective with the staff at Trinity.

“Although I was only about to two years old when we came to the

United States, my mother never let us forget where we came from. We

would travel frequently to Nuevo Laredo to visit family we had to leave

behind, we would speak only Spanish at home and she taught us our

heritage and traditions,” Joaquin reminisced. He moved to the United

States with his parents and four siblings from Tamaulipas, Mexico in

1972.

“I remember when we would visit my Grandmother Hortencia in

Mexico. She was so proud of us and would love to show us off a little.

She would have us walk with her to the corner store (tiendita) and she

would tell us to only speak to her in English. I would tell her, ‘But

abuelita you don’t speak English.’ She would say, ‘I know but everyone

else doesn’t. know that.’ I must admit we took advantage of her a little

as we would grab snacks off the shelves and ask her in English,

’Grandma can we have this?’ and she would answer, ‘Yes mijo.’”

Joaquin was the first in his family to graduate from high school. He

wanted to become a doctor, but after attending college for a while, the

high costs eventually lead him to pursue medicine another way. Joaquin

enlisted in the US Army and was trained as a combat medic. Many

resident aliens serve in the American Armed Forces. Joaquin liked

getting to know people from other cultures. “We share our stories, our

traditions, our foods, our friendships with one another and we know

that when it comes down to it, we will have each other’s backs. We train

together, we sweat together, we bleed together, we laugh together and

at times we cry together. We are taught in Uniform we are all one, we

are all GREEN,” he explained.

While serving in Germany in 1995, he began his citizenship application

process. Because the application was denied, Joaquin was barred from

reenlisting and only allowed to serve eight years. “I was upset to say the

least. But I now look at it as a blessing as it brought me back home and I

met my beautiful wife Ashlee and we now have our beautiful daughter

Harper.” Joaquin said.

Joaquin missed the military so much though that after a 17 year break

in service he enlisted in the Army National Guard as a medic again. He

served stateside, overseas in Germany, was deployed to Bosnia

Herzegovina, and activated in support of Hurricane Harvey Relief last

year. “It has always been an honor to serve my country, to take pride in

putting on this uniform and to put others needs before my own,”

Joaquin said.

He is grateful for the loving support of his wife Ashlee and his mother-

in-law, Sharon, for encouraging him to continue pursuing citizenship. He

also thanks Mr. Juarez, a patient of Dr. Duey’s who helped him re-apply.

“He was honest in informing me that I should have already been a

citizen as the applications I submitted years ago were correct on my

part and should have been approved. This experience has only made

my journey here more meaningful. “

Joaquin says becoming a citizen means he will have more opportunities

in his military service. But it also means that he can stand a little taller,

more confident and proud to be an American.

Joaquin’s four year old daughter Harper summed up the excitement of

her daddy’s citizenship, “This morning as I was getting ready for today’s

ceremony, she starts singing as she is bouncing up and down on her

mini trampoline, “My daddy is going to be an American just like me!”