Director of maintenance for athletic facilities Roberto Hernandez said his agenda often varies from day to day as he is responsible for ensuring all aspects of the school’s athletic programs are running smoothly. Anything that the school needs, Hernandez is on top of it. Sometimes, that need may be saving someone’s life.
Early Tuesday morning, Hernandez went through his typical routine to prepare the school for the week. He greeted security officer Sanders Jackson as well as the the familiar face of a morning jogger.
“I saw the guy jogging and I said good morning,” Hernandez said. “I knew him because he’s been coming here for years. I went to talk to Jackson and when I came back I saw the guy was on the ground. I thought he was stretching but when I saw his glasses shattered on the ground. I said ‘uh uh that’s not right.’”
Upon further inspection, Hernandez noticed the man was unconscious and suffering from convulsions. In addition, he was bleeding above his eye after he had collapsed on the track. He appeared to have suffered from a heart attack, though the exact ailment is unknown.
Acting quickly, Hernandez, who has completed the faculty cardiopulmonary resuscitation training, called 911 and followed the dispatcher’s instructions to perform CPR as an ambulance headed to the scene. Within minutes, the man was revived and began gasping for air. The paramedics arrived soon after and took the victim to the hospital. The school has not been updated on his condition.
Though the questions and attention have quickly piled up for Hernandez, he said he did not feel nervous or panicked when tasked with saving a man’s life.
“A lot of people asked me ‘how are you feeling? Are you nervous?’ And I don’t feel anything, I’m just coming back to work like normal,” Hernandez said with a laugh. “It’s my first time [being interviewed] and I feel nervous. I think I feel more nervous right now than I did on Tuesday. I felt so comfortable.”
Hernandez said his favorite part of his job is that he can help people in different ways and never knows what a new day will bring.
“Anywhere that needs me I’ll go,” Hernandez said. “That’s what we’re here to do. Help this school and do our job. I’ve been here for 20 years. I feel like I started yesterday. It’s fun to work here. I like it, I enjoy it. I’ll be here to help people.”
Athletic director Darlene Bible spoke highly of Hernandez and how important he is to the athletic program.
“He has an uncanny sense of recognizing the needs of our coaches, and is always there to lend a hand or to take care of something that they may not even know they need,” Bible said. “I cannot tell you how valuable he is to our department. He is definitely the MVP. The athletic department could not function without his dedicated, hard-working service.”