Heber Marquez is “Mr. Maywood”

Andres Flores, Features Editor

The Start of Passion: Seven years ago Heber Marquez volunteered to help teach impoverished kids in Sierra Leone. This experience changed his life forever. “Ever since then I fell in love with helping people again,” Heber said.
(Andres Flores)

Every community has individuals who do nothing but try and improve everyone else’s situation. Those individuals deserve time in the limelight, and in this case, that individual is Heber Marquez. 

Coming from a poor household in a rural part of Mexico with no access to running water or electricity, Marquez has made himself an invaluable asset to the community. He has a strong passion for helping others in his community and said, 

“The word unity is in community. I can’t progress unless the community also does.” ”

— Heber Marquez

This passion has always been an important part of Marquez’s life. When speaking about his life in Mexico he said, “My passion for helping others led to education. I was always helping kids with homework at home.” This passion for educating others manifested itself in an opportunity that would impact Marquez for the rest of his life. 

Marquez’s very first teaching experience was in a classroom that was in the middle of a jungle with no running water or electricity as a missionary. “My mom saw an opportunity to help people in Africa with the church, and she told me about it,” Marquez said. 

Even though he was hesitant about this opportunity, he said, “I was prepared not to come back, but I still went.” Despite the stories of missionaries being abducted and murdered in Sierra Leone, he was ready to face any challenges ahead. However, those stories were nothing like what he experienced. Instead, he fell in love with the people he was helping and created a brand new family in an unfamiliar place. He loved teaching even more and followed that passion into what would later become his career. 

“I was originally not going to hire Marquez,” Gabriel Duran, principal of MACES, said.  Marquez pushed and pushed until Duran gave him a shot. “ Ultimately, as I interviewed other English teachers, Mr. Marquez stood above many of the candidates.” There were at least 40 candidates all fighting for a spot in the English department with only 10 spaces. 

Marquez forms very close bonds with his students. Matthew Urbina, a senior, said, “Mr. Marquez is a great teacher, he isn’t just good at teaching, but he also makes sure to have a close relationship with his students.” 

Not only is Marquez close to his student but also with his community. “It goes without saying that he lives up to his Mr. Maywood title students have given him. He volunteers at the food bank, mentors students, helps at the church and then he serves as a City of Maywood Councilmember,” Duran said. 

Marquez is involved in his community playing a very important role as a city council member, but he didn’t run for a seat for five to six years. That was until everyone around him kept badgering him until he ultimately decided that it was time. 

Despite helping the community in a great way, he still wants to accomplish more. Over the last two years as a council member, he said, “We are finally building partnerships again; the Dodgers came back to Maywood, and now there are more events and help for the community.” Marquez’s biggest goal for the future is to provide more mental health services for youth and the community. 

Marquez leads by example and shows fellow members of the community how they should be involved. Uriah Rodriguez, a junior, said, “He is a role model showing how members of the community can give back and succeed.”

He is very transparent and has shared his struggle with depression and anxiety. He believes that everyone should be open to sharing their struggles and let it be known. He is no stranger to knowing what a bad day feels like, and yet he maintains a positive and motivational personality. 

“Despite my struggle, I know I can make others happy for a day.” He uses his passion for helping others as a coping mechanism; making other people happy makes him happy. He even goes on to say “You inspire me to help people.” The “You” he is referring to is everyone he knows, everyone he can help, everyone in his community because, at the end of the day, he still wants to be the blue power ranger.