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U.S. Secret Service Agent Hector Hernandez to give motivational talks at Luna, WL...

Hector Hernandez has been considered an underdog all his life. Perhaps that motivation has prompted him to be successful in almost anything he sets his sights on.

Hernandez has been a Special Agent with the United States Secret Service for 28 years and has worked in the prestigious Presidential Protective Division in Washington, D.C., where he protected the likes of Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and most recently Vice President Mike Pence.

“I still feel like I have a lot to prove,” says Hernandez. “My entire life I have always been an underdog. I’ve always put in a lot of extra work.”

Hernandez is scheduled to give a motivational talk and answer questions from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 13, at Luna’s Media Arts Auditorium. He is also scheduled to have a clinic with West Las Vegas High wrestlers that afternoon and give another motivation talk at WLV on the 14th. Hernandez’ talk at Luna is open to everyone.

His connection to this area was through the New Mexico Highlands University wrestling program. When he was a high school senior in El Paso, most major college programs overlooked him. Some, like the University of Arizona and University of Michigan, offered Hernandez partial scholarships, but only Highlands’ head coach, Steve Sanchez, offered him a full scholarship.

In 1987, Hernandez rewarded Sanchez for having the confidence to believe in him, winning the NAIA championship in the heavyweight division, the first in school history. He was selected to represent the United States on a U.S. national team, which competed in Russia.

“When I showed up in Las Vegas, I had something to prove,” says Hernandez. “I decided I was going to adopt this city as my own. I had the support of the entire student body, and I always had faith in God. That year, Coach Sanchez’ son Michael died in a car accident, and I dedicated the season to him. This meant much more to me than a gold medal.”

Hector Hernandez, far left, is pictured here with then-President Barack Obama. Hernandez is scheduled to give a motivational talk from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 13 at Luna’s Media Arts Auditorium. The event is open to the public.

While at Highlands, Hernandez earned a bachelor of arts degree in political science and a master of arts degree in sociology.

“My talk will be to remind young people to never give up and always remember they are never out of the fight,” says Hernandez. “Success is not an easy road; you have to prepare for it.”

In 2014, he was selected as a candidate for the Department of Homeland Security, Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program. After successfully completing the program, he was certified and joined the Senior Executive Service ranks. In 2016, he was appointed as the Deputy Special Agent in charge on the Vice Presidential Protective Division. In August 2018, he was promoted to Special Agent in charge on the Vice Presidential Protective Division. After successfully completing this assignment, he was promoted to Deputy Assistant Director in the Office of Training, where he is currently assigned.

Even with all his success, including the fact that he is the first Hispanic to be in charge of the Vice Presidential Protective Division, Hernandez says he still considers himself an underdog.

“There’s still a lot to be done,” says Hernandez. “I’m always trying to set the tone for minorities, including women. Every promotion I’ve ever had was due to hard work.”