Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base, OH --
Ohio Air National Guard Staff Sgt. Sabrina Jimenez, a personnel specialist at the 121st Air Refueling Wing in Columbus, Ohio, was presented the Latino Military Service of Distinction award by the Ohio Latino Affairs Commission on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017.
Five Hispanic Ohioans were chosen to receive the award, given to Latinos who have served and continue to serve the country with honor and excellence, at the Distinguished Hispanic Ohioans Awards Gala at the Ohio State University Saturday evening.
Jimenez, a first-generation American and Hilliard, Ohio resident, was the only recipient who is currently serving in the military.
“It feels good, it means a lot,” Jimenez said about winning the award. “I thank my family. They’re the ones who instilled my values in me, and push me to do my best.”
Jimenez’s parents immigrated to the United States from Nicaragua before she was born to escape civil strife.
“They left everything to come here,” said Jimenez. “It was kind of just ‘pack your stuff, we need to go’.”
Jimenez said her family inspired her to strive to do her best, even if it meant getting out of her comfort zone. She’d always wanted to be in the military, but didn’t learn what it would take until after she enlisted.
“I enlisted when I was still in high school, I didn’t know what being in the National Guard meant,” said Jimenez. “It opened my eyes. I used to be a timid girl, I was shy. The National Guard shaped me in to a professional woman, and helped me do things I was uncomfortable with, like go to basic training.”
Jimenez has been a National Guardsman for four years, but she is making long-term plans. Inspired by her family’s perseverance through hardship, she intends to stay in National Guard until retirement. She’s picking up mentors to help develop her career, and plans to enroll in at Franklin University to study healthcare administration.
For Jimenez, it all started with her family.
“I know what they had to go through to get here,” she said. “I felt like I needed to give them a gift for all their hard work, and just live the American dream.”
More information about the Ohio Latino Affairs Commission and the work they do at ochla.ohio.gov.