May High Country Hero: Esteban Ortega |

May High Country Hero: Esteban Ortega

Summit Daily/Mark Fox

Q: In your opinion, what is the best thing about being a part of the Summit County community?A: It is a beautiful community, where the people are very friendly and every person is doing something to make the community better. It is a place where your kids can grow up far away from the pollution and violence of the big city. Q: How do you supportpromote integration in your everyday life?A: In my job, I have a lot of contact with the Spanish community and I try to educate people about how the police work. Im working together with other officers on making a better relationship between the Hispanic community and the police departments. We hold meetings with a group of Hispanic moms, Mamacitas, and we talk about different topics like domestic violence, safety and other topics. Q: How would you explain your philosophy in regard to community involvement? A: If you are involved in your community, you learn more about it and make better decisions and help other people and inform them about what is going on in the community like events, health services, and a lot of other services that the county has to offer. Q: Share an experience that has had an impact on you in regard to integration.A: When I started working for the Breckenridge Police Department, all of the members officers, sergeants, administration, and the chief helped me a lot. They make me feel very comfortable and they have a lot of patience when they trained me. Today I am still learning from them and I think they learn from me about the Hispanic community and our culture. Q: What words of wisdom would you pass onto the community to get more people involved in Summit Countys integration efforts?A: This is a great community and we can make it better, locals and immigrants. We can learn from the different cultures that we have here and have a better understanding of our environment if we are open to the diverse cultures within our community.I challenge everyone to get involved with the cultures in their neighborhoods by reaching out to them and taking the first step. I encourage Hispanics and other cultures to be proactive within their community.

Through the Community Integration Plan, developed through the Supporting Immigrant and Refuges Initiative by the Colorado Trust, Summit County identified over 50 activities to meet the outcome of increased integration among all community members. The plan has three major components: Education & Employment, Cultural Competency and Leadership Development. In this monthly feature, Summit County honors the outstanding efforts of heroes working toward community integration.

Decade Born: 1970s Born and raised: Ensenada Baja, MexicoHobbies: Mountain biking, off-road racingPassionate about: Cars Favorite cultural activity: Music Languages spoken: English, Spanish. If you have any questions, have suggestions for next months hero, or would like to get involved call Erin Head at (970) 262-3888 x315.

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