JOPLIN, Mo. — It’s Hispanic Heritage Month — and, with Joplin’s diverse community, it’s also a reminder to acknowledge people of Hispanic descent who give their time and service to our community everyday.

Celina Merado and Mayra Ramirez are Nurse Techs at Freeman Health System.

They say their culture is important to them everyday, not just during Hispanic Heritage Month.

Mayra Ramierez, Nurse Tech, Freeman Health System, said, “Whenever I can help someone understand fully, it really does bring a light to my day.”

They say it gives them a different perspective when helping patients.

“I actually had a patient not too long ago. She just was here by herself, didn’t have any family so she didn’t understand what was going on with her so as soon as I spoke to her in Spanish she just got real happy cause she was like I can actually know what’s going on.”

Whether it’s breaking language barriers, explaining cultural context, or simply lending an ear to non-English speakers, they say their Hispanic heritage makes them who they are.

Celina Mercado, Nurse Tech, Freeman Health System, said, “Going into the room and them realizing that you also speak Spanish and they can communicate, not just like, with medical stuff, but maybe just have a conversation with them throughout the day.”

Claudia Cuevas has worked at Freeman Health System for 13 years. She says seeing others who share her cultural heritage in the workplace, gives her a sense of pride.

Claudia Cuevas, Occupational Therapist, Freeman Health System, said, “It’s kind of nice to see people in the healthcare field, you know, people that you can rely on and also kind of feel familiar with because you know, you have something in common, your culture.”