Public service is something that drives many folks to get out of bed in the morning. There’s this feeling of accomplishment that I get when I am able to help others that I crave every day. The cliché is: “if you love your job, then you never have to work a day in your life” to some extent that rings true. If my job is to help others with their most pressing life issues, then I feel like I’ve accomplished something.

  Part of the appeal of working in public service is the incentive of conveying an ideological or moral value I believe in, as well as seeing how I can bring about change in the areas around me. Growing up I have always felt strongly about issues that I read in the newspapers. I routinely found myself reading the Daily Metro, stealing copies of the Boston Herald from my neighbor and staying up past my bedtime to watch the 10pm news. This illicit behavior fostered a love for current events and public affairs, which combined with the 2004 & 2008 elections, pushed me to begin exploring my future in public service.

  The most difficult obstacle in my life has been my family background. As the son of two undocumented immigrants, I’ve had to grow up being the family’s spokesman, advocate and activist. I would check the news once a week out of necessity just for immigration updates. Some of the things that my friends thought were essential, my family simply couldn’t afford. Due to a lack of a social security number, my parents couldn’t drive in this country. This seemingly small fact created a gigantic inconvenience in our lives. My family had to travel six miles roundtrip to go grocery shopping and often times it was me who had to wheel the food by cart home from Chelsea. The highlight of my week was a bribe in the form of a $1 slice of pizza that my mom would buy me when we went haggling for produce at Haymarket. Although my family was poor, I certainly didn’t feel like I grew up impoverished. My parents always found a way to put food on the table and a roof over our heads. One of the few things that makes my dad proud other than his children is the fact that he’s never been late on a payment. There’s an obligation on my end to pay him back and to be a voice for the many families that have stories similar to mine.

My sponsor, Adrian Madaro, is also the son of an immigrant. I first heard Adrian’s story during his campaign for State Representative for the First Suffolk District and was convinced that he was my idol. As Ward Fellows, Boston Latin School alums and kids from East Boston, Adrian and I have many similarities when it comes to background. His ability to be a success story in a neighborhood where that’s hard to come by is nothing short of remarkable. Working with him has been incredible. I have had days where we sit in the office and hash out seemingly every problem under the sun and other days where we go to events in the district and really have a great time with the people of East Boston. Even with all of the great things that Adrian has taught me and the immense respect that I have for him, it’s actually Liana LaMattina, his aide and lifelong friend, which impresses me the most. Most elected officials have an entire staff dedicated to sharing the workload, but Adrian has just one incredible person who easily does the work of a whole team. Despite Adrian getting the attention and praise of being an elected official, it’s Liana that I’ve grown to respect just as much, if not more, than the Representative himself. Although she may not always receive the praise that she deserves, she cites her love for our community and the never ending struggle to make it a great place to live as more than enough motivation for working so hard.

Although I have no clue what the future holds for me, I definitely know that I will serve others in my lifetime. There is no doubt in my mind that I will dedicate myself to the betterment of my fellow man. Whether I ever run for office remains to be seen but I do know that my career in public service has just begun. The Ward Fellowship has been the best experience of my life, and to think I was on the fence about even applying seems absurd. Everyday I wake up renewed and ready to make a difference in the lives of others. I never want this feeling to go away.