KEYS WEEKLY SALUTES OUR SERVICE MEMBERS

We at Keys Weekly want to honor the men and women serving in our local military installations. With help and advice from our community members in the armed forces, we’re proud to present our Military Spotlight in the Key West Weekly.

We thank all our military men and women for their services and sacrifice, as well as the sacrifices their families make to keep us and our nation safe. 

MAGDIEL E. TORRES

MACHINERY TECHNICIAN SENIOR CHIEF PETTY OFFICER, U.S. COAST GUARD

Why did you join the military? I was looking for a change in my life and needed something challenging and rewarding.

How many years have you served in the military? 26.

Had you ever been to Florida Keys or Key West before your current assignment? I came here a few times in the late ’90s as a port-of-call while serving on a cutter out of Boston. I never thought I would have the opportunity to live here. This June will mark my 16th year of living in Key West.

Did you choose or request Key West, or were you just assigned here? It was a bit of both. I wanted to be at sea for my next assignment and I was given the choice between Key West and Grand Isle, Louisiana so I chose Key West.

What were your first thoughts upon learning you were coming to the Keys? I was worried, as I only knew of Duval Street from the previous short visits and at the time, I had a 9-year-old son. Once I moved here, it all changed as I explored and discovered all the great things Key West has to offer.

Hobbies? Playing pool, tinkering with sound systems and playing guitar when I have the time.

Favorite things to do? Fishing, lobstering, hanging out at Mud Keys and karaoke.

Have you ever attended Fantasy Fest and if so what were your initial thoughts? I have attended Fantasy Fest. My first one was in 2006 while volunteering for AIDS Help (now AH Monroe). I was in awe at first until I learned the history and purpose of it. Now I am impressed with the way people come together as a community and support such a huge fundraising event.

What do you like most about the Keys? The history and beauty the Keys have to offer is captivating. The ocean and the scenery are my favorite while driving on U.S. 1.

What do you like most about your assignment? My current assignment aboard the USCGC ISAAC MAYO (WPC1112) has been one of the most rewarding ones. I have been part of multiple search and rescue, fisheries enforcement, drug interdiction and migrant operations. In addition, I have the opportunity to help junior members in the Coast Guard as the Chief of the Boat.

What would you change about living here in Key West if you had the power to do so? The housing situation. I will expand on that when I run for mayor.

Any advice to give other military seeking assignment here? My advice is to pace yourself. Drink responsibly and enjoy all the things Key West has to offer. If you do well in your first year, then you can have a great tour.
What do you like most about living here? The people. I have never seen a place where the true locals come together and help each other. I have the utmost admiration for the ones who actually make this town thrive, like those working in the service industry (Hi, Marty!), as well as our local business owners, our first responders and our city workers. Thanks to them, Key West is a true paradise to live in.

If you would like to have the Weekly delivered to your mailbox or inbox along with our daily news blast, please subscribe here.