Gr8 Inspiration: Hillsborough deputy uses her Cuban roots to help others

Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office Deputy Marilyn Alvarez.

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A Tampa Bay area woman is helping protect people who often find themselves the targets of scams and crimes.

But, for Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Marilyn Alvarez, it is more than just a career, especially when it comes to dealing with immigrants.

“My parents were immigrants from Cuba. They came here in 1965 during the Freedom Flights. They know exactly what it means to one day have freedom and the next day having the rug taken from them and having all their rights taken away from them,” said Alvarez.

“I was always raised knowing what they came from, what they sacrificed, they came here and built the American dream,” she said.

Deputy Alverez knows that the Cuban culture is much different than the U.S. Cuban immigrants might not know about their rights.

“They have rights. If someone commits a crime against them, they can report it and they can get justice. Many of them in Cuba, you don’t report it, you just don’t. I tell them, ‘Here law enforcement is different you don’t fear us – we’re here to help you’,” said Deputy Alvarez.

As for domestic problems, in Cuba it’s just a family problem.

“In Cuba and many Latin American countries it’s a family issue, it’s not a crime. So, I educate them, especially the women, that’s it’s a crime and nobody is allowed to victimize them,” she said.

Deputy Alvarez spends a lot of time in the community trying to stay connected to her roots and helping others feel safe living in Tampa Bay, so they too can live a safe and productive life.

Deputy Alvarez’s efforts are so widely known, she was just named Hispanic Heritage Woman of the Year. That’s what makes Deputy Marilyn Alvarez a Gr8 Inspiration.

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