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Staff Sgt. Julio Cesar Arriola

Noncommissioned officer in charge, Dental Infection Control, 49th Aerospace Medicine Squadron

What is your nationality?
I was born and raised in the city of Granada, Nicaragua. I moved to the U.S., Miami, Fla., at the age of 14.

What type of traditional foods do you like to eat?
Among some of the most traditional meals known in Nicaragua are vigoron, nacatamales, frito and bajo, just to name a few.

Who were some of your role models growing up?
My role models are and always have been my parents. They have always inspired me to do well in life. They have also shown me that with hard work and dedication anything is possible -- you just have to truly want it and do something about it. Most of all they have always supported me unconditionally in my endeavors.

What are some of the traditions in your culture?
Raising our children to be proud of who they are and where they come from is one of the most important traditions we share. Holidays and birthdays are usually big parties, lots of food and lots of people. Independence Day is a major celebration in the entire country, from marching band competitions to a typical dance called Marimba.

What was it like growing up as a Hispanic?
Growing up as a Hispanic in the U.S. has been tough, but it has also been extremely rewarding. Failure is not an option and I think that for the most part, the grand majority of Hispanics would agree. Living in the "Land of Opportunities," as everyone calls it, has really opened up the doors to a bright future not just for me, but also for our future generations. Above all else, I believe that growing up in the U.S. and serving in the U.S. Air Force has definitely exceeded my expectations and has also given me the satisfaction of reassuring my love and gratitude for this country even though I will also forever be Nicaraguan.