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Home : News : News
NEWS | Jan. 2, 2020

JBSA Military Ambassadors promote long-standing relationship with local communities

By Kathleen Salazar 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Each year, 10 service members from across Joint Base San Antonio participate in the Military Ambassador Program to promote the military’s commitment and relationship with the local communities around the installation.

Two representatives from each service will serve as military ambassadors at events throughout the community surrounding JBSA, with Fiesta being the highlight of the program. Ambassadors participate in the annual 11-day celebration with more than 50 activities associated with Fiesta San Antonio, as well as recognizing and celebrating San Antonio’s rich diverse cultures.

“This experience has given me a new love for San Antonio,” said Tech. Sgt. Ryan Fillweber, 369th Recruiting Group and a 2019 Air Force Military Ambassador. “I met some truly outstanding youth and made some lifelong friends from the community and from my sister services.”

Taking part in the program not only allows the military ambassadors to play integral roles for JBSA’s community relations program, and it also provides another tool for the services to get their messages out.

“I take more pride in the things I do today because of the program,” said Tech. Sgt. Lisa Shurling, Cryptologic & Cyber Systems and a 2019 Air Force Ambassador. “Being the face of the Air Force for millions of people to see means stepping outside of my comfort zone in order to represent the world’s greatest Air Force in a positive light. I am grateful for the opportunity to share my story with the world and hope I have inspired others along the way.”

The relationship between the U.S. military and the City of San Antonio dates back to the mid-1800s and honors the memory of the heroes of the Alamo. Today, San Antonio continues its tradition of more than 300 years that honors the historic relationship between San Antonio and the U.S. Armed Forces.

“It was great to learn about the history of our involvement with many outside organizations and how that relationship has evolved over the years,” Shurling said. “It is amazing to me how there were so many moving parts, but yet we all were able to come together as a team in order to celebrate the most memorable holiday here in San Antonio.”

“In my year-long tour as an Ambassador, I was always met with a thank you, a smile, a fist bump or a high five,” Fillweber said. “I think that speaks volumes to how amazing our community is and shows that they support the military 100 percent.”

“The Ambassador program really helped me see the complete picture of how the military plays a huge role in the community here at Joint Base San Antonio,” Shurling added. “Our community relations foster a supportive environment here in San Antonio and why it is truly ‘Military City USA.’”

The 2020 Joint Base San Antonio Military Ambassadors are:

U.S. Army Military Ambassadors

Sgt. 1st Class Ernie Nieves is assigned to the Park North Recruiting Station, 5th Recruiting Brigade at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston.

“Giving back and representing a community and culture is truly an honor. I am privileged to have been selected as a 2020 Fiesta Military Ambassador for the U.S. Army and look forward to partaking in a tradition that fuels the great city of San Antonio.”

Sgt. Alejandra Valdes is a geospatial engineer from U.S. Army North at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston.

“I’m so excited and honored to be selected as one of the 2020 Fiesta Military Ambassador’s for the United States Army. This opportunity has a special meaning to me, as I grew up in San Antonio and I would’ve never thought I would be a part of something I used to just watch.”

U.S. Marines Military Ambassadors

Sgt. Lorianny Del Rosario is a unit diary clerk from the 4th Reconnaissance Battalion.

“It is a great honor to have been selected to represent the United States Marine Corps as the 2020 Fiesta Military Ambassador. It is a privilege to be part of such a profound tradition that dates back 125 years. I am very grateful and look forward to celebrating the history and culture of San Antonio! As they say here in San Antonio, ‘Viva Fiesta!’”

Staff Sgt. Hector Jaramillo is a company gunnery sergeant at the 4th Reconnaissance Battalion.

“It is an honor and a privilege to represent the U.S. Marine Corps and 4th Reconnaissance Battalion as a 2020 Fiesta Military Ambassador. Being a proud native and coming from the Southside of San Antonio, I know how much Fiesta means to all of us here in Military City, USA. This time of year is special to us because we know how much history is involved and how much is given back to our local communities’ means. I look forward to celebrating with everyone and giving a great big grito y un gran VIVA FIESTA!!!”

U.S. Navy Military Ambassadors

Petty Officer 1st Class Wendy M. Cajas works for the Director of Administration at the Navy Medicine Training Support Center.

“It is truly humbling to be selected as a U.S. Navy representative for Fiesta San Antonio 2020! I am from Washington, D.C., and have never seen anything like Fiesta before. I am eager to celebrate Fiesta and enjoy everyone’s energy and pride that they have for Texas. It is amazingly beautiful how everyone in Texas gets together to celebrate Fiesta. This is truly a life experience.”

Petty Officer 1st Class Alfredo Esquivel III is assigned to the Naval Technical Training Center, JBSA-Lackland as the leading petty officer for the Naval Corrections Academy.

“It is a true honor in being selected to serve as the 2020 Fiesta Military Ambassador and represent the United States Navy. Fiesta is an event that brings the city of San Antonio together and I am extremely grateful for this opportunity. I am from this wonderful city so being able to come back home and represent the United States Navy during Fiesta will be a memorable experience that I will never forget.”

U.S. Air Force Military Ambassadors

Senior Airman Miranda Leigh Lopez is a wing staff resource advisor at the 502nd Comptroller Squadron.

“As a native of Texas, it is an honor to be selected to represent the U.S. Air Force and serve as a 2020 Military Ambassador. I look forward to celebrating San Antonio’s rich and diverse culture with all in Military City USA.”

Tech. Sgt. Benjamin Johnson is an instructor supervisor at the 343rd Training Squadron.

“I am truly honored and humbled to be selected as an U.S. Air Force Military Ambassador for 2020. I am excited to learn and be immersed in the culture, diversity and traditions of this community. Fiesta stands as an example of San Antonio’s brave beginnings, perseverant past, and flourishing future! When you see us out there, please come chat. I hope to learn from you about what makes the Military City USA so amazing! Viva Fiesta!”

U.S. Coast Guard Military Ambassadors

Petty Officer 2nd Class Shawn Bittner works with the Coast Guard Cryptologic Unit-Texas.

“I am honored and excited to have been chosen as a 2020 Fiesta Military Ambassador to represent the U.S. Coast Guard. San Antonio has treated my family and I with experiences like no other. I am humbled to be able to take part in this event. I thoroughly look forward to being a part of this exciting event, and hope we bring as much joy to you and your family as Fiesta does to mine.”

Petty Officer 1st Class Bonnie A. Gonzalez works at the U.S. Coast Guard Recruiting Office in San Antonio.

“Being approached and asked if I would be a Military Ambassador for Fiesta 2020 is a complete honor in its self. As a recent transfer to the San Antonio area, I am delighted to represent the U.S. Coast Guard in arguably the most recognizable military friendly cities in the United States. I look forward to creating lifelong memories and experiences with the many diverse cultures and communities that make up this beautiful city.”