ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A local volunteer didn’t let a serious health issue stop him from making an impact on the community. Patrick Turrieta’s peers said he is always at the Barelas Senior Center; oftentimes, he is the first one there and the last to leave. He’s a volunteer at the center and teaches different classes.

“His classes are very well attended. The seniors love it, and they seem to be getting results from it,” said Barelas Senior Center manager Julio Santisteban.

Every Tuesday and Thursday, seniors “enthusiastically” attend his aerobics class. The oldest attendee is 93 years old. “That’s basically what I do, try to keep active and encourage other people. I tell them when we’re working that there’s a teenager in there someplace. Go find that teenager. And I’ll see them get a big smile on their face, and they think, ‘Yeah, you know, I think I can do this,'” Turrieta mentioned,


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He’s been teaching his aerobics class since January. The class has become a family. Many said they haven’t felt “this good” in years. “I went to the doctor, and she gave me good results. My blood pressure and everything has gone down. I lost weight,” said Dorothy Martinez, an attendee.

However, Turrieta shouldn’t even be here. Over a year ago, he had a heart attack. But he didn’t let it stop him from helping out the community. “I think if you are in a good mental capacity, you realize it’s just one of those challenges in life,” said Turrieta, “What you make of that is what makes a difference.”

He’s been a volunteer his whole life and has been volunteering at the Barelas Senior Center for 13 years. Turrieta feels like he can keep up his good Samaritan work. “I’m not that bad. I can still walk. I can still talk. I can still encourage people,” added Turrieta.

He also teaches a computer class and helps with the center’s gardens. His life is a good reminder to keep moving. “There’s things you can do you wouldn’t think are possible,” Turrieta said.

There are eight senior centers in Albuquerque. Those wanting to join in on the fun can purchase a membership for $20 at the Barelas center. The center not only provides exercise classes but also has language classes, arts and crafts, field trips, and meals. Turrieta says he always tells his attendees to first speak to their doctor before joining the class.