The City of Cleveland
celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month and local trail
blazers on Sept. 13, 2012 at the Cleveland City Hall Rotunda.
Organized by the Community Relations Board and Hispanic liaison
to the Mayor, Lucy Torres, the event drew more than 300
guests. Honored for their life-long service to the community
were Angelo J. Morales and Henry Guzmán, both
shared their stories and legacies of hard work and values their
respective immigrant parents instilled in them.
Morales served as the
first Latino Deputy Chief of Police in the City of
Cleveland after an extensive career in the US Army, serving
during the Vietnam Campaign, and later as a military policeman.
During his 26 years with the Cleveland Police Department he
ascended through the ranks from patrol officer to detective,
lieutenant, captain, commander and finally Chief of Deputy
Emotional, Morales fought
back tears as he thanked his family for their support and
recognized the men and women he served with. “I don’t think you
realize the value of this to me being present here today,” he
Morales made a commitment
to be a diligent, work as hard and as fast as he could. He
recalled one of the first incidents he reported to, a young
child electrocuted while his wheelchair ridden father stood
helpless out of the door because it was too small.
His leadership set a tone
or responsibility and accountability through all ranks; “This is
how you change the culture of a large organization.” He said
his legacy is a result of many opportunities that were available
to him, “I embraced all of them.”
Commander of Homeland Security, served under Morales and lauded
his service and leadership, “Chief, you were one of those
giants, and not just because you’re tall, on whose shoulders the
rest of us were able to stand on.”
a native of Villiaba, Puerto Rico who arrived in Youngstown,
Ohio at age five with his mother and siblings to join their
father who relocated years earlier to work at the steel mills.
He attributes the early household chores of shoveling coal into
the furnace in the winter for creating a work ethic that
nurtured his career.
Guzmán retired as the
Director of the Ohio Department of Public Safety, a position he
was appointed to by former Gov. Ted Strickland in 2007.
Guzmán advised the governor and staff on issues relating to the
Ohio State Patrol, the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles, the Ohio
Emergency Management Agency, Emergency Medical Services, the
Ohio Investigative Unit, criminal justice services,
administration, and the Ohio Traffic Safety Office. He earned a
Purple Heart and Bronze Star for valor for his service in the
Vietnam Campaign with the 101st Airborne Division.
He credited his father for
instilling the value of education, learning English and U.S.
patriotism. “My secret weapon for learning the language
[English] were comic books, because they had a story that drew
me in,” Guzmán said. He admitted to struggling in school and
often leaving during the day only to be dragged back by his
When the draft letter
arrived he enlisted and volunteered for an extra year of
service, “Because I was told I would be treated better.” Taking
a moment of silence to honor the men and women in service Guzmán
said the realities of war shifted his appreciation of life, and
surviving with the help of his mother’s devotional prayers
renewed his commitment to service.
Entertainment for the
afternoon was provided by Sammy De León & His Orchestra, and
TANGOme Dance Ensemble.