Hello! My name is Ethan Ibarra, and I am a recipient of the Daniel A. Terry scholarship. I am proud to
commemorate the legacy of my father Richard Ibarra, who laid his life down in the fire service for the
good of his community.
My childhood looked like anyone else’s growing up. I had a roof over my head, a good group of friends,
and was going to school to receive a standard education. My mother Jan was a stay-at-home mom
raising both my brother and I, and my father Richard was a full-time firefighter spending days or even
weeks away from his family. We lived in a good neighborhood with all the other preschool kids, all of us
waking up early to see the garbage truck driver who would give us lollipops and setting off fireworks
together every fourth of July. Come the holidays, our whole family would be reunited playing games and
laughing with one another, and my dad was often the center of attention. He was a funny guy who loved seeing people smile and laugh, and he never made anyone laugh more than my mom.
Unfortunately, we lost my dad in December of 2009 when I was six years old. Everyone was completely
blindsided, and the effects of his loss rippled through our family like an earthquake. In a way, I was too
young to realize this and would often ask my mom “When is dad coming home?”. I would have to
eventually have to come to terms with the fact that the answer to that question would be never. My
dad had forever left this life and moved on to the next.
Two years later, we moved away to the place where my dad had dreamed of taking our family. It was a
small town but had a tight-knit community and it would not be long before we found our place as a part
of it. It was hard not seeing all my old friends and visiting the firehouse every week like we used to, but I
am grateful to my mom who worked so hard to enroll my brother and I into school, move us in to our
new house with the help of the fire department, and deal with the two little pests that we were (and
probably still are).
Life went on, though very quietly. It wasn’t the same without dad making monkey faces at us through
the car window, pushing us on the swings at the playground or walking through the door after his shift.
I would never know what it would be like to have a dad to play catch with, or to teach me how to fish, or
to coach me through life as I matured from a rambunctious kid into a moody teenager. But even though
my dad wasn’t with us physically, that didn’t stop me from striving to be just a good a man as he was.
Today I am 19 years old and am attending Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona. With the help of the Daniel A. Terry scholarship, I am proud to say I am pursuing a Bachelor of Science in nursing. Though I don’t have many memories of my father, I do remember how passionate he was about serving others. He wouldn’t hesitate a second to answer a cry for help, whether that be from a burning building or from a desperate friend in need. Now I wish to do the same, and as a registered nurse, I long for the
opportunity to provide answers to those cries for help, be a shining light for those in darkness, and
maybe one day, save someone’s life, as my dad had done countless times.
I am thankful to this foundation for its mission to help those whose loved ones laid their lives down in
the efforts of saving others and for the opportunity for me to do the same. We love you dad, and you
will live on forever in our hearts.