HAMDEN – Personal stories of overcoming hardship and how it led Roberto Alfaro to success recently inspired him to publish a memoir – ‘Fighting Through The Hurdles of My Life’.
“I held stories in my heart and soul of things that happened to me, crazy things that could have defined my life,” Alfaro said.
The Puerto Rican-born Hamden resident published the memoir in July through Halo Publishing International.
Alfaro, 65, was born and raised in New York, and is the first in his family to graduate from college. In 1979 he moved to Connecticut and became a police officer in Hartford, where he worked for 21 years. He then became a public safety officer at Quinnipiac University, retiring in 2021.
Affected by violence
Alfaro said domestic violence affected his and his mother’s life when he was a young boy. Additionally, he was bullied at school to the point where he asked his brother to teach him boxing and self-defense. The training gave him confidence, turning him from shy to confident, he said.
“It made such a big difference in my life,” he said.
Later, Alfaro struggled at school, disrupting classes and disrespecting teachers. He said there were people in his life who became mentors and helped him find a better path.
Policeman, model, actor, bodybuilder and salsa dancer
In the 90s, Shana Sureck, a former Hartford Courant photographer, was looking for someone to do a photoshoot to promote Victoria’s Secret boxers. Sureck and Alfaro attended the same gym, he eventually agreed to pose for the ad.
The photographer, from Massachusetts, gave her some advice on getting into the modeling industry, she said. Ever since Sureck and Alfaro collaborated on the photo shoot, they’ve stayed in touch.
“He’s as sweet and kind as he is handsome,” Sureck said.
A friend of Alfaro saw the ad and helped Alfaro get in touch with a modeling agency. A connection in the modeling industry later encouraged Alfaro to try acting. He was offered a part in a short film and continued to find opportunities as an actor. Alfaro appeared in “New York Undercovered”, “Blindspot” and “Orange is the New Black”. He noted that he is often cast as a police officer or law enforcement official.
As a policeman, Alfaro was involved in difficult tasks that required him to be in good physical shape. After responding to a scene in which someone escaped from a hospital and broke into a market, he decided he wanted to train harder and met someone at the gym who encouraged to enter a bodybuilding contest.
“I almost lost my life and I must have been in better shape than the criminals we had to deal with on the streets,” he said.
In her first contest, Alfaro also showed some salsa steps and won. He went to other competitions and became a personal trainer.
His passion for salsa music led him to offer salsa lessons at Southern Connecticut State University, Quinnipiac University and Eastern Connecticut State University, he said.
In 2014 Alfaro was inducted into Hamden Notables. According to the Hamden Arts Commission website, those inducted into Hamden Notables are nominated by friends or commissioners for their achievements in the arts in Hamden and outside.
Fighting Through The Hurdles of My Life is available from Halo Publishing International, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. For more information about Alfaro, visit www.robertoalfaro.com or contact him at [email protected]
[email protected]: @KarlaSantosNews