Adrian Valenzuela Solano: The Blind Mechanic
La Prensa SD Staff
At just five years old, life handed Adrian Valenzuela Solano the first hardship he would have to overcome when he lost his eyesight to congenital glaucoma.
However, he did not let his visual disability limit him from his desire to succeed, and now his story of overcoming adversity has gone beyond borders.
It was in Tijuana where Valenzuela Solano found his purpose in life, which has lead him to become an example of how where there is a will to move forward there is a way. Valenzuela Solano is able to dismantle and repair a motor engine.
“A teacher that I had in middle school and others had the idea to teach me the parts that make up an engine,” Valenzuela Solano said to La Prensa San Diego. “The patience of those who helped me learn where a base and I have had to make an effort, as well to keep trying to prosper and update my mechanic knowledge.”
Being a mechanic, let alone a blind one, is not an easy job, especially when tasked with the repairing the Tijuana Fire Department’s fire engines.
Valenzuela Solano is in charge of detecting faults or defects in the Department’s engines. The responsibility of making sure every fire truck has the ability to successfully arrive to a fire is a responsibility that lays in his hands.
Six years ago, Valenzuela Solano was put to the test at the Department’s garage. Since then, he has held a commitment to serve Tijuana’s firefighters and their motor vehicles.
“Being part of an institution that saves lives and properties is a privilege and, more than anything, something that I can be proud of,” Valenzuela Solano stated. “It motivates me.”
It can take an experienced mechanic an average of three hours to dismantle the heavy machinery of a motor, but Valenzuela Solano and his hands get the job done in one more hour than those mechanics with the sense of sight.
For him, his hands are something more than just simple tools, they are in fact his best tools.
“With my hands I can detect wear and tear, I can mount and unmount parts and since I have several years of practice it is easy for me to know the exact size of a screw or a wrench I need to use,” said Valenzuela Solano.
Inside the garage, located next to the Tijuana Fire Department’s headquarters, Valenzuela Solano and another 12 workers make up the team which lends its services to the department. Out of this group, Valenzuela Solano stands out not only because of his outstanding work, but because of his humble demeanor, which motivates the rest of his coworkers.
Every morning, Valenzuela Solano boards a collective-route taxi and travels over an hour until he arrives to his workplace, located a few meters from the boundary line which divides Mexico from the United States.
Valenzuela Solano is close to celebrating his 20th wedding anniversary and is the father of a 16-year-old boy and a seven-year-old girl, who he says are the light of his life.
Each auto part that passes through Valenzuela Solano’s hands ends up in a working machine, which is no easy task. Thanks to his experience and being able to immerse himself what he does, this mechanic is an integral part of a team dedicated to keeping Tijuana safe against fires.
La Prensa San Diego is proud to recognize Mr. Adrian Valenzuela Solano’s as an example of someone who can succeed against adversity for our binational region.