Dominican Republic Native and Professional Firefighter Puts Down Roots in Southern Chautauqua County

Jesus Garcia is a professional firefighter and EMT for the Jamestown Fire Department and lives in the more rural area of Kennedy, about 10 minutes east of the city if traveling along I-86. But both Jamestown and Kennedy are long ways away from Jesus’s original home in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and his first U.S. residence in New York City.

“I was born and raised in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. I came to the Cassadaga Job Corps in 2002, looking to get my GED, attend trade school for plumbing, and get my driver’s license.” Jesus says. “Before that, I migrated to New York City in 1997 and then dropped out of high school. I was up to no good!”

Jesus admits that he was taken aback when first arriving in Western New York.

“My first impression was, ‘Am I in the North Pole?!’ There was so much snow! But spring and then summer came and I loved how beautiful Cassadaga is. After I graduated from Job Corps, I Relocated to Jamestown. I thought this was a nice little city compared to New York,” he explains.

Jesus adds that there was a noticeable difference between life in the Big Apple and the one he found in Chautauqua County. 

“I lived in New York City for several years – Kosciusko Street in Brooklyn NY. Living in Jamestown was a BIG change for me – slower pace, less noisy, no traffic. There’s more grass, woods, and lakes, and the surrounding areas around Jamestown offer hunting opportunities – I never heard about hunting deer before! There’s also fishing, canoeing and kayaking on the Conewango River, four-wheeling, bonfires with my neighbors, and more. And I can go snowmobiling from my house in Kennedy to almost anywhere in Chautauqua County. I was introduced to a new world after living in the city. I love how laid back it is!”

In addition to working at his job as a first responder for the city, he also spends a lot of time with his family – which includes his wife, three girls, two boys, two dogs, two cats, and 11 chickens!

“Around Chautauqua County, my kids love going to different parks to play – from Kennedy to Westfield,” Jesus says. “We enjoy visiting Chautauqua Institution, events at the Northwest Arena and around Chautauqua Lake. Dining out at different restaurants, camping with friends at Chautauqua Gorge Campground, and hiking. And my wife love the Wine Ttrails!”

It’s definitely not the Dominican Republic and it’s a far cry from the hustle and bustle of New York City, but all the same, Jesus says he’s grown to love it here.

“Chautauqua County and Kennedy have been a great place for raise a Family!” he says.

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