Detroit-based flight attendant Melinda Lopez and her parents were born in California, but her grandparents came to the United States from Spain and Mexico.
“They came for a new experience and the rest is history,” said Lopez. “Being part of a Hispanic heritage is like being part of a big family. Everyone coming together with a lot of culture and traditions from different backgrounds is amazing and something I value.”
Hispanic Heritage Month is an opportunity to celebrate the history and culture of U.S. Hispanic communities and celebrate the influence and contributions of Latinx people.
Lopez’s family keeps up some traditions like making tamales at Christmas and fresh tortillas and salsa on special occasions. She attributes her heritage with influencing her to become the strong, proud Hispanic woman she is today.
Working at SkyWest has also given her opportunities to connect even more deeply with her family’s roots.
“Once I became a flight attendant, I was able to enjoy the perk of traveling abroad,” said Lopez. “I’ve traveled throughout Mexico and have gotten to see and know more of my heritage. I am grateful for this opportunity – next stop Spain!”
Lopez dreamed of being a flight attendant since she was a little girl. She encourages other Hispanic people interested in a career in aviation to follow their dreams and work hard. She has seen the aviation industry become a more diverse career field.
“I choose to fly with SkyWest because I used to travel on SkyWest quite a bit in and out of Fresno. I would observe the flight attendants and admire what a great job they did” said Lopez. “I always kept SkyWest in mind as a company that I would like to work for one day and finally that day came for me.”
For Boise Flight Attendant Vanet Ortega-Garcia, familia is everything! With a deep Hispanic heritage, Vanet is grateful for her experiences and continues to instill the Mexican traditions and culture of hard work and passion to her kids and future generations.
“For me, Mexican culture is about our strength, courage, loyalty and familia she said. “We are united, fierce, bold, colorful, hardworking and unstoppable loving warriors!”
The unity and strength of Vanet’s family and ancestors fills her with pride as she reflects on everything her family has accomplished.
“When I think of my culture I get filled with pride,” said Vanet. “I think of my abuelitas (grandmother) and abuelos (grandfather), my mami (mom) and my papi (dad) who broke their backs day in and day out to give my family a bigger and better tomorrow.”
Although Hispanic Heritage Month runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 each year, Vanet and her family, make sure they celebrate their heritage each and every day.
“Being Mexican is walking into a full house and being greeted by your primos (cousins) your tias (aunts) and tíos (uncles), “she said. “There’s also that random tío who isn’t really your uncle but he’s been part of the family for so long that he is family.”
With great food and Mexican music – which is so full of life – Vanet can’t help but start dancing to the rhythm and beat of the music.
“Being Mexican is togetherness, helping out one another, and always being there,” she added. “Being Mexican is my superpower!”