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Flores moves to Cincinnati to fulfill his dreams of becoming a firefighter

By Rico de La Prensa

Toledoan Andre Flores has moved to Cincinnati to become a fireman. He is the only Latino in the class of 30, which started its six-month agenda at its academy on December 6. 


While Toledo is downsizing via the anticipated layoffs of 23 firefighters on December 31, Cincinnati is increasing its firefighting personnel, who currently number almost 800.


According to Flores , “ Cincinnati elected to cut down on the overtime hours of existing firefighters by selecting a new class, because Cincinnati , too, had budgetary problems.”


Flores took the Cincinnati firefighter test in March and was advised in September that he had placed number 29 out of 3,000 that had taken the test, but with an anticipated class of 20 he did not expect to be selected.


However, at the last minute, the city of Cincinnati decided to increase its class to 30 and called Andre four weeks ago to ask him to be part of the new class. He promptly accepted.


Flores had wanted to be a firefighter for Toledo —he had taken the firefighter’s test three times in Toledo and placed number 15 in 2001 out of over 2,000 that had taken the test, but only 10 were chosen for the Toledo academy.


Ironically, one of the chosen 10 had the same last name but spelled “Florez” and this Florez will be laid-off on December 31, as part of Toledo ’s attempt to balance the budget.


Flores had almost given up on his 10-plus year dream of becoming a firefighter. He is 34 and the age cutoff to become a Toledo firefighter is 35, but then fate or dios intervened.


His girlfriend, Jessica Hayes, who had recently relocated to Cincinnati to secure a job with the Hamilton County Human Resources Department, told Andre that Cincinnati was giving an examination for a December firefighters’ class. Flores applied and was ultimately selected.


“I am very thankful for this opportunity to fulfill my dream of becoming a firefighter,” said Flores .


According to Flores , he will be involved in the academy for 24 weeks and then be on one-year probation. He looks forward to the challenge.


Andre is a 1988 graduate of Central Catholic High School . He is the son of Mary Jane Flores and the late Judge Joseph A. Flores.


In 1989, he joined the U.S. Marines and took part in the first Gulf War in 1991. He later was assigned to the Philippines on the island of Luzon to assist in evacuation and cleanup after the volcano eruptions of Mount Piñatubo in April through June of 1991—the Mt. Piñatubo eruptions were the second-largest series in the 20th Century (a magnitude 7.8 occurred on June 12).


He then worked in the Lucas County Treasurer’s Office for the past 12 years as a Deputy Treasurer.


God willing, he will be a firefighter in six months.


Reporter’s Postscript: It is amazing how stories develop. I bumped into Mary Ward, the sister of Judge Flores, at El Camino Real restaurant in Oregon and she told me how happy she was for her nephew, Andre, for finally realizing his goal of going to a Firefighter Academy despite his disappointment that it wasn’t Toledo’s. She invited me to his going away fiesta at his mother’s residence. The food, or course, was provided by El Camino Real.





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