McConnell Melting Pot: 22nd CONS Airman aims to give back

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Colby L. Hardin
  • 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
It can be hard to understand why someone would want to leave their hometown and move to a foreign place for what seems to be no reason.

Coming from Tijuana, Mexico at the age of 15, Senior Airman Christian Luevano, 22nd Contracting Squadron contract administrator, is now very grateful for the opportunities he has received.

"At first I was mad," recalled Luevano. "But I realized my mom had her reasons for moving us here."

He and his mother left Mexico in 2004 and moved to San Diego because she wanted him to attain a better education than he was getting.

"It was a really big change," said Luevano. "I only knew a little English, but all of my classes were in English so it made it kind of hard in school."

After finishing school Luevano applied for his green card. The green card allows a person to live and work in the U.S. on a permanent basis. A year later after he received it,  and he applied for his first job working as a bank teller.

Luevano became a supervisor after four years, but he said he didn't feel satisfied. He said he felt like he needed to do more with his life and the opportunities that were available to him after moving to America and becoming a resident.

"Once I got my green card it hit me," Luevano said. "I realized I was no longer a part of Tijuana; San Diego was my home now."

Luevano explained how he started feeling complacent at his day-to-day bank job and wanted to not only make a difference but also further his education.

"I had an okay job," Luevano said. "But I didn't really see it taking me anywhere farther than I already was."

Luevano decided to join the Air Force in July 2012 but since he wasn't a citizen, he said he was limited on job options. He took an open general contract and became a contract administrator and was stationed at McConnell Air Force Base in January 2013.

Growing homesick because of the time he spent away from Tijuana, Luevano decided to get his citizenship in 2014 so he could travel back home.

Although he no longer calls Tijuana home, Luevano still likes to keep in touch with his family and friends much as he can. He also said he realizes that his mother had made the right decision for him by moving to a better place.

"Whenever I go back to Mexico, I like to help out in any way I can," added Luevano. "Sometimes I see my friends from when I was younger, and they're still there doing the same thing they were doing 10 years ago."

"I know he misses home sometimes," said Senior Airman Philip Gray, 22nd CONS contract administrator and Luevano's roommate. "On Saturdays he wakes up early to watch the Spanish broadcast of La Liga soccer matches."

Soccer is just one way that Luevano brings his heritage here to Wichita, Kansas.  He also enjoys cooking traditional Mexican food whenever he has friends over for dinner.

Luevano said he wants to pursue his bachelor's degree so one day he can make an impact on his hometown and the people still living there.

"I feel like I need to go back home," said Luevano. "I think it's the love I have for my family and friends that makes me want to go back and do what I can to help the entire community the best I can. I'm grateful to the Air Force for the opportunities I've received."