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National Hispanic Heritage Month: In their own words (Part 2)

Denver Water spokesman Jose Salas shares his background and the cultural experiences that have shaped his life.

Denver Water is very proud of our diverse workforce. We asked a few of our employees to share in their own words what National Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, means to them and how their culture and backgrounds have provided inspiration to their lives.

Jose Salas, Media Relations specialist

I was born in the Mexican state of Coahuila.  Although my family moved to Colorado from Mexico when I was 12 years old, we have always been Denver Broncos fans. Like many immigrants, my parents made the decision to move to the United States to pursue the American Dream.

Jose Salas and his family prepare to watch a Mexico match during the 2018 World Cup this past summer.

It wasn’t easy for them or me to move to a new country, learn a foreign language (in just a few months) and integrate into a new culture. But, it was worth it.

Being bilingual has opened many doors for me, including working at Denver Water. I am teaching my kids so they also can be fluent in Spanish and English and hope they too are proud of their heritage. One of my proudest moments as a dad is to see my kids put on their Mexico jerseys every time the national soccer team plays.

In 2015, I earned my Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Metropolitan State University of Denver. I was a non-traditional student, with a full-time job, two kids and working as many internships as time allowed.

I am proud of my Mexican heritage and proud of the many cultural and family traditions that we follow. I am especially happy during Christmas when my brothers and sisters visit from Mexico. Baking and cooking starts from the moment they walk through the front door and seems to go on 24/7 for days. Some of my favorite food items are wedding cookies, buñuelos (think of this as a flat, crispy churro), empanadas and tamales.

Watch the final chapter in our series, “Journey of Water: Home,” to see how Jose and his family value the high-quality and reliable drinking water supply we’re so fortunate to have every single day in the Denver metro area.

Also read about Dr. Selene Hernandez-Ruiz, water quality scientist with Denver Water, in her own words.