Thinking Large about Hispanic Heritage Month

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Ericka A. Woolever

During Hispanic Heritage Month, U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Harvey Large, 36th Electronic Warfare Squadron legacy lab section chief, reflects on his Hispanic background.

“I am Panamanian,” said Large. “My dad married my mom when he was stationed at Howard AFB, Panama.”

Communication was one of the greatest challenges Large, his mother and brother faced when they moved to the U.S. from Panama, where Spanish is the official and primary language spoken.

Even with the language barrier, Large and his mother were able to thrive and succeed.

“I was most proud of being Hispanic when my mom graduated college,” said Large. “She raised three of us and pushed herself as much as she could and got her degree. Now she teaches at a high school in Minot.”

As for Large, his greatest accomplishment is being in the U.S. Air Force, just like his father.

“Following in my dad’s footsteps has been a pretty amazing journey so far,” said Large, who has already served for 13 years.

With this month celebrating Hispanic Heritage, Large explains how happy he is about his culture being recognized.

“It brings pride when our culture gets recognition,” he said. “It gives me a sense of pride when I see anyone from Hispanic descent succeed in any challenges they face. Hispanic Heritage month highlights accomplishments from our members from different walks of life and countries.

“I think being able to look at our members and celebrate in their accomplishments is vital to a healthy force.”

To Large, diversity in the U.S. Air Force creates a culture that accepts differences and brings a new outlook to everyday challenges while talking about challenges some face coming from certain backgrounds.

“It is important to have people to pull experiences from so leaders can make the right decisions when it comes to harder problems we face in the military,” said Large. “Being inclusive in our culture allows us to take advantage of some of the best minds our country has to offer.”

Large believes the best way to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month is by immersing oneself in the culture and gaining an understanding of other peoples’ culture and family traditions.

“Reaching out to others with different cultures and backgrounds gives everyone a chance to know the people you serve with,” said Large. “Being Latino has opened avenues for me to communicate with people from different cultures by sharing aspects of my own.”