Mesilla firefighter, born on Sept. 11, 2001, drawn to profession
LAS CRUCES - Mesilla Firefighter Gabriel Franco knows exactly what he was doing on Sept. 11, 2001. It’s written right there on his birth certificate.
He said growing up with such a momentous and important birthday has had an enormous impact on his life. But he also said that he quickly came to understand its significance in history. He recalls going to school and watching videos and documentaries on 9/11 on his birthday.
“It’s a very big deal for me,” Franco said. “I didn’t really plan to be a firefighter. But especially now that I’m a firefighter, it means a whole lot more. When I look back on those who risked their lives — and now me doing the same job — it’s kind of poetic, maybe.”
Franco said he started thinking about becoming a firefighter a little before starting high school. While attending Lynn Middle School, his mom took him to visit a firehouse, which helped plant the seed.
“I started to think that might be something I wanted to do,” he explained.
Upon graduation from Las Cruces High School, he got his EMT license at Doña Ana Community College. He learned about an upcoming academy with the Mesilla Fire Department and signed up.
Franco said that learning about the attacks of 9/11 — and the way the country came together afterward to help out — has filled him with a sense of pride for his country.
“To see the way that everyone came together, and firefighters from all around the country going to New York to help out in the aftermath of the attacks, it’s really amazing,” he said.
He said that, if something similar were to happen today — a mass-casualty event or terror attack he’d be the first to volunteer to help out in any way he could.
Southern New Mexico remembers 9/11
- Mesilla Fire Chief Kevin Hoban reflects on time volunteering at ground zero
- Planned fishing vacation finds Las Cruces resident near ground zero
- J.R. Calkins, of Silver City, was on a plane to New York City hours after the 9/11 attacks. Here's why.
- Doña Ana County Sheriff Kim Stewart remembers working in NYC following 9/11 attacks
- Retired Las Cruces Police Chief Patrick Gallagher reflects on 9/11
- Former Alamogordo reporter recalls Sept. 11, 2001
- Today's high schoolers reflect on 9/11: A tragedy before their time
- Here are the 90 servicemembers from New Mexico who have died since 9/11