JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas –
For most people, waking up as an American citizen is just a given – a circumstance of birth. For one Soldier at Brooke Army Medical Center, the right to be an American took more than a decade to earn.
Spc. Diego Timoteo, an Army combat medic, was born in Brazil and came to the United States in 2005. He recently earned his citizenship. Timoteo played high school tennis and received a scholarship to play tennis in college.
In the years between 2005 and 2019, his parents came to the U.S., opened a business and received their green cards. Timoteo earned a bachelor’s degree in biology and one in psychology. In 2019, when he received his residency status, Timoteo also realized one of his other longtime goals.
“I’ve always wanted to join the military,” he said. “My father was in the army in Brazil. He was a captain, a doctor. I’ve always liked the discipline of the Army. Since the time I decided I wanted to live in the United States and become a citizen, I’ve wanted to join the military because of the similarity to the athlete mentality – how disciplined you have to be, how you have to listen to the people above you, and the work ethic that the Army has. I’ve always thought that is the correct place – the right place for me.”
In 2019, Timoteo joined the Army and went to basic training and advanced individual training where he earned his 68W – Combat Medic – credentials. He reported to BAMC at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston later that year where he started working in the emergency department.
He later swapped places and took a position in the pediatrics department. When BAMC began putting together the team for the COVID-19 testing area, Timoteo received an invitation to join. For the last several months, he has been working in BAMC’s drive-through COVID-19 screening area to help test and screen beneficiaries.
“He is a hard worker,” said Air Force Staff Sgt. Gabrielle Kaufman, an orthopedic technician at BAMC, who currently serves as the supply non-commissioned officer in charge for the screening area. “He is definitely one of our star people here. He is always willing to help out the other members of our team.”
“It’s one of the best things that’s happened to me so far,” Timoteo said about his time working with the testing and screening team. “I completely enjoy being out there on the front lines with the people on my team. We all come from different parts of the hospital, but the mission is the same. We work for the good of the unit.”
It was while working in his current role that Timoteo finally received the news he had been waiting to hear for so long.
“I just got my citizenship this month (October),” he said. “It’s something that I always wanted to be – to be an American citizen, and serve in the Army, so I’m very excited.”
Since receiving his citizenship, Timoteo is moving forward on one of his major goals – becoming an Army officer. Timoteo said he is putting together a package to be commissioned as an officer and he plans to pursue further education in Psychology. He said his passion is to help others with their mental health issues. The new U.S. citizen and Soldier said he is proud of his accomplishments and looks forward to a long career.
“I’m here for the long haul,” Timoteo said. “I would like to stay in for the whole 20 years. Or, if possible, I’d like to stay longer.”