Montgomery Firefighter Receives U.S. Citizenship
First responders and firefighters are often honored for saving lives. But one Montgomery firefighter has a different reason to celebrate.
Anselmo Repolles is from Brazil and has been with Montgomery Fire/ Rescue for almost three years.
After a long process and years of waiting, Repolles finally became a United States citizen, and received his citizenship at the federal courthouse in Montgomery last week.
“I was in the fire department uniform, I was like alright, don’t cry. It’s not going to look good. just keep it cool,” Repolles laughed, while being interviewed.
February 4th, 2020 is a day Repolles and his family will never forget. He was one of thirty-nine people who recently became American citizens. At least 10 countries were represented.
“It was very sobering ceremony. The judge talked about not only the benefits, but the responsibility of being an American, and the weight it carries,” Repolles said.
Even in his younger days, living in Brazil with his family, Repolles had always dreamed of doing some kind of service.
“Unfortunately, my path didn’t quite align with being a firefighter in Brazil, or the military,” Repolles said.
He went to college, met his wife- who is from the state Georgia– and got married. After a visit, the family decided to settle down in the U.S. in 2010.
“I got here, I was like ‘you know what? I’m getting old and if I wanna do what I wanna do, I need to go ahead and do it.'”
He says it was hard to find a department that would hire and train recruits… Montgomery Fire and Rescue was one of the few places he found that did.
“One of the things I love about being a firefighter is, you know, we go in and do something and we see the results of what we did. And we can see how we made a difference in this person’s life or I actually made a difference in this situation,” Repolles said.
Repolles says it was a long, and sometimes difficult process of tourist visas, green cards, and years of waiting. But he says the wait was worth it.
“We always say America is the land of opportunity but I sometimes really think it’s the land of living your dreams,” Repolles said.
Repolles’ mom and siblings still live in Brazil.
He says he’s hoping to visit them soon.