From Small Town Roots to Global Community Service
Nina Mónica Lucia Herrera Halecki grew up in the small Argentine beach town of Claromecó. Surrounded by a loving family, she has fond memories of playing handball with friends during adventure-filled days. Her early attraction to healthcare and science fields sparked when seeing ambulances and firefighters responding to town emergencies. At 15, Nina met Leo, a retired Navy man, who motivated her to enroll in the Argentine Army.
After a 21-year career in the Army, Nina now leverages her nursing degrees, civil protection expertise and military medical experience to empower and aid vulnerable communities. As a nursing professor and field instructor, she readies future nurses with real-world abilities. Nina also educates firefighters, police, shooting instructors and the general public on first aid for hostile situations, allowing communities to increase resilience. By collaborating with Latin American organizations in-person and virtually, she hopes to reach those needing help most.
Nina’s journey has taken her from her small hometown to serving communities locally and globally. Through knowledge transfer and preparedness training grounded in her diverse background, she strives to have a positive impact around the world.
Answering the Call: A Lifetime of Service through Healthcare
From the beginning, Nina felt most fulfilled when helping others, though her career path to follow this calling was far from direct. She joined the Argentine Army in 2002 as an aircraft mechanic corporal, finding purpose in keeping mission planes operational. Her interest in healthcare emerged while studying to become a nurse, attracted to the care and rescues the role provided.
Nina discovered an ideal way to blend her aviation mechanics background with caregiving after training as an aeromedical evacuator. Juggling military flights alongside nursing exams and duties was challenging, but fueled her motivation. She transported patients, personnel and equipment, while completing her Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing.
After further emergency medicine training and another degree in Civil Protection, Nina qualified as an army combat nurse. She reinforced her expertise supporting demanding field exercises nationwide - artillery training, demolitions, parachute jumps - keeping troops safe.
Collaborating with a high-altitude rescue NGO, she added rope handling and risk management to her repertoire.
Through two decades of military service, Nina uncovered her true calling: helping vulnerable communities through an interdisciplinary skillset mixing healthcare and emergency response. Her determination to gain advanced expertise in these areas despite myriad obstacles illustrates a lifetime devotion to serving others in need.
Critical Experiences Solidifying Nina's Commitment to Serve
Nina's first major test came unexpectedly when a truck collided with two cars outside her home. Hearing the crash, she ran out to find herself the only person on scene with any first aid knowledge. Though her training had just been academic, Nina swiftly triaged and aided the injured until firefighters arrived. This harrowing experience revealed her ability to apply years of medical expertise when stakes were highest.
A seminal training opportunity came when Nina traveled outside Argentina for the first time to take a tactical combat medicine course in Colombia. There she connected with like-minded teammates equally devoted to saving lives. The intensive certification exposed Nina to global best practices in hostile settings that surpassed current Argentine protocols. Energized by this knowledge, Nina vowed to instruct such techniques locally so more communities can access this specialized, lifesaving information.
However, Nina considers her most formative learning occurred while working in an intensive care unit during the pandemic. Under the mentorship of Lorena, a generous head nurse, Nina gained confidence handling complex cases, overcoming initial fears of the high-risk environment. Witnessing immense grief from patient losses was heavy but fueled Nina’s motivation to equip all levels of society with medical knowledge. This period reinforced her sense of duty to share both clinical expertise and compassionate care.
Through intense trial-by-fire moments, Nina's commitment to serve vulnerable communities has only grown. Her defining experiences have illuminated first-hand how passing on critical knowledge and empathy can empower others when it matters most.
Rhino Rescue's Excellent Training Materials Save Lives
Nina started using Rhino Rescue's products early this year when she urgently needed high-quality materials to provide training courses.
Fortunately, Rhino Rescue ships to Argentina, which is very important to Nina since it's difficult to obtain expensive certified high-quality materials in Argentina. She began using these products in her courses and found them extremely useful, as they have great durability in terms of quality and material. This is critical because they need to withstand diverse conditions in practice.
In Nina's view, her most important skills are teaching and practical abilities in the health field. She is passionate about imparting knowledge and people acquiring tools that can change their lives, and above all using their own hands to save lives. We all may encounter situations requiring action. To that end, Nina makes daily efforts to deliver up-to-date, superior-quality knowledge.
By utilizing Rhino Rescue's products, Nina realized their ethos aligns with her own ideas as both emphasize providing exceptional service. Thus, Nina advises that despite facing adversity, never abandon pursuing your goals, dreams or ideals. Everything difficult takes on new meaning when achieved. Do not let anyone tell you that you are incapable or your ideas are crazy. Everyone has ideals they wish to attain, and no matter how ambitious the objective...it can always be accomplished.
Finding Balance Through Nature and Adventure
Gardening is one of Nina's greatest hobbies and passions. She adores plants and cares for many varieties in her own garden. Learning the unique needs of each plant is an engaging challenge. Caring for her garden helps Nina find peace and reconnect with nature.
Nina also cherishes opportunities to discover new places and make memories with her loved ones. Traveling through her beautiful country with her life partner, family and friends over mates and conversation nourishes Nina's soul. From lush forests to ancient ruins, there is always another breathtaking destination to explore.
These activities ground Nina and help her maintain balance in life. Though teaching fills Nina with purpose, it can also be mentally and physically draining. Her hobbies remind Nina of the simple joys and wonders this world has to offer. They re-energize and inspire Nina to continue imparting knowledge with an open and passionate heart. Nina's garden and travels continually renew her creativity, empathy and thirst for growth.
Finding Purpose Through Hardship and Helping Others
Looking back, Nina feels immense fulfillment this year on personal and professional levels. She has achieved things she never planned for, emerging from difficult times like her back injury. That prompted Nina to immerse herself in teaching to care for her health and find meaning in her passion for emergency response and saving lives.
Nina's plans ahead involve traveling to provide international training and aid, while continuing to advance her own skills. She dreams of participating in a humanitarian mission or group like Doctors Without Borders. Nina aspires to selflessly share her expertise wherever needed most to make a positive difference.
Though facing adversity, Nina felt called to grow beyond her limitations. Hardships clarified her sense of purpose - to empower others to preserve what we value most - human lives. Her challenges transformed into opportunities to live out her passion. With an open and willing heart, Nina feels ready to venture across new borders, learn from other cultures, and plant seeds of hope. Wherever she goes next, Nina knows it is to offer the best version of herself.