PUEBLO — For college students, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought many challenges, especially for those with disabilities.
Rosendo Vasquez is legally blind, but that didn't stop him from graduating IntelliTec College in Pueblo with his certification in massage therapy.
"When I came to America, I decided to get my license because here you have to work under the law and you need a license. I would like to do the best things and be honest with my people," said Vazquez.
After a year of challenges, he opened his bilingual mobile massage service "Body Therapy Massage," which serves Pueblo, Colorado Springs, and Canon City. To not only help others but break barriers.
"I want to really help my Latin community and give them a better quality of life. Most of the Latin community doesn't speak English, that's why I try to do this," said Vazquez.
He came to the United States from Mexico in 2018 to pursue his dream of becoming a massage therapist in Colorado. Along his journey, he's had to face obstacles.
"I finished my university before in Mexico. Most of the things that I learned perfectly before when I came to the United States, all of my classes were in English. Whatever I learned before wasn't the same in English. That part was hard for me," said Vazquez. "My mother said you can do whatever you want with your life as long as you focus."
He also had to overcome the difficulties of remote learning during the pandemic.
With help from his teachers, classmates, and family, Vazquez says he was able to achieve a 4.0-grade average.
"We would read the material, we would put his hands on the muscles that we were working on just to show him the strokes and everything," said Kimberly Barajas, Massage Program Supervisor.
She says Vazquez's drive and passion prompted them to do whatever it took to help him achieve his goals.
"We were always so amazed at Rosendo, just how quickly he learned everything. We had to modify things, and you would think it would be a challenge for him but we were always so impressed by the way he just handled everything. He never had excuses, he just always did the work and we always appreciated that about him," said Barajas.
Another strong supporter, his father Roy Briggs.
"His clients say he has a don in Spanish, a gift from God for healing. I would watch someone carry their grandmother in the house, and after Rosendo worked on her, she would walk out," said Briggs.
Now that his son has opened his business, Briggs will be driving him to each one of his appointments. Vazquez is unable to drive due to his impaired vision.
"I'm the driver so I'm going to walk the dog or wait outside while he's doing massages," said Briggs.
He says it's just a small token to give after his son spent two years taking care of his sick grandmother in Mexico.
"While I was living in Mexico, my 90-year-old mother fell down and broke her hip. Usually, that means bad news for someone that age but after I went there and we had a couple of weeks of rehab, I decided not to put her in a home. In Mexico, the family takes care of the elderly," said Briggs. "I took her to Mexico and Rosendo took care of her 24/7 for two years."
Vazquez says he is grateful for his father's help, calling him his guardian angel.
"The help he gives me. It's like he's my two hands, my two arms, my two legs, my two eyes. He's my whole body," said Vazquez.
His mobile massage service will offer cupping, deep tissue, Swedish, and more. Those interested in booking his services can reach out to him via email at cuppingmaster85gmail.com.