Humans of Scott: Airman 1st Class Juan Padilla Gomez - It's Never Too Late Published Sept. 22, 2023 By Senior Airman Mark Sulaica 375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Born in Mexico City and spending most of his youth in Mexico, Airman 1st Class Juan Padilla Gomez encountered significant hurdles in his life due to limited financial resources and a lack of opportunities for higher education. These challenges prompted his family to make the difficult decision to leave their home country and immigrate to the United States when he was age 16. It was here that his determination and hard work ethic fueled his dream of serving in the Air Force. "I engaged with recruiters and took the [entry tests] during my high school years. Unfortunately, at that time, I was unable to join the military,” he said. U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Juan Padilla Gomez, 375th Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle maintenance, is highlighted in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month on Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, Sept. 13, 2023. Hispanic Heritage Month is annually celebrated on Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 in the United States. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Mark Sulaica) Photo Details / Download Hi-Res Nevertheless, he remained determined. It was then at age 38, he achieved his goal and joined the Air Force. Today he serves as a maintenance specialist with the 375th Logistics Readiness Squadron. His day starts at 7 a.m. and he troubleshoots the vehicles that need attention. He researches solutions and fixes the problems. It’s dirty work some days but he said it’s a satisfying feeling knowing that he’s fixed something and it’s mission ready once again. “That's what I find most rewarding about my work – the knowledge that we play a vital role in keeping the mission going and ensuring that the base keeps moving forward. I believe in putting in 100 percent effort in everything you do. Day by day, hard work won't go unnoticed, and you'll achieve the recognition you rightfully deserve. …I'm grateful for the opportunities this country has provided. I have a loving wife and two children, and I consider this great country my home."