Spc. David Puebla, Fort Wayne

Spc. David Puebla learned Spanish at home in Fort Wayne. He said the language skill allows him to serve a diverse population.

A Hoosier Guardsman from Fort Wayne has his Hispanic heritage to thank for helping him serve his hometown.

Spc. David Puebla, an infantryman with Company B, 1st Battalion, 293rd Infantry Regiment, has actively assisted the Community Harvest Food Bank in feeding the greater Fort Wayne community during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Puebla, 24, is a 2014 graduate of South Side High School.

Coming from a Hispanic home in the heart of Fort Wayne, Puebla's parents taught him to speak Spanish. Because of his parents' tutelage, Puebla's linguistic skill set has made his assistance indispensable and his parents are proud that their youngest son continues to serve the community every day.

Fort Wayne, the second-largest city in Indiana, has a diverse population including many individuals who come from Spanish-speaking cultures and backgrounds. Being able to translate for individuals visiting the Community Harvest Food Bank means families are receiving the food they need and peace of mind knowing they are welcome.

"It makes me feel proud of being Hispanic," Puebla said. "It makes me proud of my parents for teaching me to speak Spanish and teaching me our culture."

Puebla believes his family would have been impacted significantly had the COVID-19 pandemic struck when he was a child.

Having seen his parents work incredibly hard to provide a better life for him and his siblings, Puebla has deep empathy for the many hardworking families who are doing what they can to put food on the table.

He understands going to a food bank is intimidating to many people and especially if they cannot speak English. These situations, where miscommunications and fears are prevalent, is why Puebla feels having a diverse team is more effective when working with a diverse population.

"It is important for people to see the diversity that the National Guard has and for the National Guard to have some representation of the communities they are helping," Puebla said.

It shouldn't come as a surprise that Puebla has dedicated to selfless service, which is one of the seven U.S. Army values along with loyalty, duty, respect, honor, integrity and personal courage.

Puebla's understanding of Spanish and Hispanic culture made him effective when helping Hispanic, Hoosier communities. However, his empathy and passion for helping others without thinking of himself is what has made him a great soldier.

"Selfless service is the most important Army value because we are here to serve the people of the United States and Indiana," he said. "We raise our hand to protect the Constitution, and we are willing to put our lives at risk to defend this free country and to help our communities at home."

For Puebla, selflessly serving his country and hometown communities is why he takes pride in being a member of the Hoosier Guard.

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