Danny Quintana’s journey began in New Mexico, but fate brought him to Utah where he eventually earned a law degree and continues to work the halls of justice for his clients.
Quintana has his hands full. Not only is a humanitarian, he is also an attorney and an author of several books. “Caught in the Middle: Stories of Hispanic Migration” tells the story of his Hispanic roots.
He’s all so a lover of tennis, and he does all of this while being in a wheelchair. In the 1980’s a neurological disease crippled him when he went to college.
He said thoughts of suicide crossed his mind, but having a son at an early age made him realize someone was depending on him.
“I think whether you’re in a wheelchair or whether you’re able-bodied, you have to really, really become a part of your children’s lives,” he said.
That thought was the driving force for him to get a law degree from the University of Utah.
“I’m a die-hard believer in the legal system. I believe the legal system works and I think that law is the only way that you can peace in society and in our world,” said Quintana. “I firmly believe that if we work hard and if people are just honest with the courts that ya, it does work.”
Quintana’s journey began in New Mexico. He was part of a large Hispanic family whose ancestors go back to the Spanish settlers who colonized the area.
For him, life was good and his Hispanic heritage started taking shape.
“In New Mexico, you speak English in the classrooms and Spanish on the playgrounds and at home, “ he said.
At age three his mom died and his father moved to Tooele to work at the Army Depot.
When he moved to Tooele with his father, the comforts of his large Hispanic family was behind him and culture shock set in.
“The culture’s are so different. You have that Spanish Catholic culture, and then you have the European Mormon culture,” he remarked.
When he was ten, his father was killed by a drunk driver. At that point, his White step-mother raised him.
Quintana became an outcast at school because Spanish was his first language and the school was predominately White.
His grades started sinking and his teacher wanted to know why.
“I looked at her with a tear in my eye and I go, ‘they don’t like me because I’m Spanish’. And she goes, ‘Well I like you’ and she gave me a great big hug and that turned me right around,” he remembered.
It’s something he has never forgotten.
Quintana is now involved in raising money and rounding up wheelchairs to give to underprivileged kids in Mexico and other third world countries, but he isn’t stopping there.
He’s also involved with saving the planet. Later this month he’s headed to Europe to meet activists who share common interests. He’ll also visit Spain, the birthplace of his ancestors.