Two Hispanic brothers in North Alabama are hoping to set an example to the younger generation.
"We see young people every day who have similar names to us, who look like us and when we deal with these young people they certainly recognize the name. They recognize we are like them, and we want to make sure we are setting the right example. We want them to shoot for the very best for their lives," Dr. Jose Reyes, Jr. said.
Dr. Jose Reyes Jr. is the Scottsboro school superintendent, and the first Hispanic male to ever hold the position of superintendent in the state of Alabama. His brother Carlos Adam Reyes is one of the first Hispanics to be a state trooper. Their biggest influence was their parents.
"Both of our parents — A strong example is probably an understatement," Adam said.
Jose and Carlos are of Mexican descent. Their grandparents came to the US in 1947 to work. Their father Jose Reyes Sr was born the following year in the US. Their family moved across the country following work. Their dad left his home at age 16 to find work, and was eventually drafted into the military at 18.
The military brought Jose Reyes Sr. to a military base in Ozark, AL, where he met his wife. The two got married in 1969 and eventually moved to Scottsboro in 1977. He was a welder and pipe-fitter with the Tennessee Valley Authority.
"My father—I never really recall him taking off work. I always remember him going to work. If they ever called him, he was going to work. He was constantly focused on providing for my brother, my mother and myself. That's got to be the absolute most motivating factor and influence in my life," Adam said.
Both brothers say that hard work influenced them to be the best they can become to make their dad proud.
"We do what we do because we both want to serve. We both enjoy serving this particular county. Our family has served this county since 1977. Our mother being a teacher, him (referring to Adam) being in law enforcement and me being here in education. Our family has been about service to the community. It's been an honor and a privilege to be able to serve and allow those people who have similar backgrounds to us that with hard work and dedication anyone can succeed in this country," Dr. Reyes Jr. said.
Both brothers say they want to follow their father's footsteps and hope to serve the community for years to come.