This year marks the 19th anniversary of 9/11, and for Ismael Fuentes, campus auxiliary officer (CAO) at Crockett Middle School, the day marks a deep connection. 

Before joining the Irving ISD family in 2008, Ismael Fuentes served as a firefighter from 1973 to 2008 in Corpus Christi; Spokane, Wash.; and Grand Prairie.

Fuentes photographed in his uniform.

Out of the 343 firefighters that he knew from his years of service, he lost 150 of them because of this senseless act. To the world they were paramedics, captains, lieutenants, and fire school instructors, but to their families, they were spouses, mothers, fathers, children, brothers, sisters, and so much more.

“There was a fire chief that was on his way to sign his retirement papers when he responded to the World Trade Center,” says Fuentes. “He was never heard from again.” 

In their honor, Fuentes leads a powerful 9/11 tribute at Crockett each year. Although this year’s may be a little different with students learning remotely, the presentation will go on as planned with faculty and staff attending in-person on campus. 

Part of Fuentes’ display.

He hopes his presentation inspires Crockett students (as well as faculty and staff) to live exactly like his former colleagues – to pursue their hopes and dreams and never give up.

This is exactly what former Crockett student, Miriam Trigo, took away from Fuentes’ presentation. Miriam and her family moved from Mexico for the “American Dream.” Because of Trigo’s courage to follow her dreams, she was awarded a full scholarship to Stanford University. For Mr. Fuentes, this is what it’s all about – helping students like Trigo believe in themselves.

As a CAO and firefighter for 35 years, Fuentes has dedicated his life to caring for others whether young or old.

We’d like to thank Mr. Fuentes for his service and all he continues to do for Irving ISD. We’d also like to remember the lives that were lost on 9/11. May we never forget.