Hector Hernandez gives motivational talk at Luna
U.S. Secret Service Agent Hector Hernandez recently spoke to a crowd of over 180 ̶ the majority Luna students and employees ̶ at Luna’s Media Arts Auditorium.
“Humility is something I have always tried to demonstrate throughout my entire life,” said Hernandez. “With that said, I know that I am here to somehow try to motivate you, to inspire you. I have to be honest with you. In reality, all of you inspire me. Why? Because all of you have made the decision to pursue higher education, to learn, to better yourselves, to improve your situation, and that is fantastic. I am proud of all of you.”
Born and raised in El Paso, Hernandez was raised by his parents who came to the United States from Mexico with hopes and dreams for a better life for their children. Once they established themselves in the United States, the future for their family immediately began to flourish, Hernandez told the audience.
“Even though we had been poor financially, we were extremely rich in religion, love, pride, spirit and fortitude. In other words ‘teniamos muchas ganas,’” said Hernandez.
Hernandez said one of the most important and critical decisions he ever made was to join wrestling as a youngster, which led to successes in high school and eventually earned him a scholarship to attend New Mexico Highlands University. Hernandez would go on to win the school’s first wrestling national championship. Hernandez said his championship opened many doors for him and was the core to all of his eventual accomplishments.
“All of that sounds great and successful, but it didn’t come without struggles and challenges,” said Hernandez. “My entire life I have always been considered the underdog. From as a young child, moving from an all-Hispanic neighborhood to an all-white neighborhood. “Being told I was not meant to attend college was devastating and disappointing to hear.
However, in my heart and in my mind, I knew I wanted more for my future. I even found myself the underdog while I was attending Highlands. I was told by many people I was not smart enough to earn my degree. Well, I earned my degree, and I also earned a master’s degree.”
“I was told I would be too small of a heavyweight; I won the RMAC (Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) three times, won a national championship and made a U.S. national wrestling team. (I was told) I would never graduate the law enforcement training academy. Well, 28 years after graduating the academy, I have protected President Clinton,
President George W. Bush, President Obama; I even was in charge of the protective detail for Vice President Pence, and I am now the deputy assistant director in the Office of Training for the entire U.S. Secret Service. I have been to every state in our country and have been around the world several times.”
“I share this with you because I want you to not limit yourself; open up your mind to all the possibilities out there. The world is waiting for you to come and shake it up in whatever profession you choose. But the opportunities won’t just show up; you have to work very hard, and you have be consistent. You have to follow through and put in the hard work. We come from a humble people; we are raised with great morals, values and great work ethics. So you have to plan to succeed, not hope to succeed.”
Hernandez spoke to several people, including Luna students, after his talk.
“We needed a speech like this for students,” said Ashley Martinez, a Luna student from Las Vegas, who aspires to be a U.S. Secret Service agent. “It was very interesting advice for students to look at bigger things in life.”
Ashton Hansen, a Luna student from Dallas, also wants to be a U.S. Secret Service agent one day.
“This is the best thing I’ve had since coming to Luna,” said Hansen about Hernandez’ talk. “It was amazing. I learned a lot of planning; I know what I need to do now.”
Hernandez reminded the audience the importance of never giving up.
“Never let anyone define you,” said Hernandez. “Never let anyone tell you that you can’t. Never let anyone put limits on you. I want to encourage you to dream big, visualize what you want to do, how you want to impact your family, your community, your school, your culture, the world. Out of this room, here today, something great will come. A new invention, a cure to a disease, maybe a U.S. president. From the bottom of my heart, thank you very much. I will pray for all of you! Muchas gracias y que Dios los bendiga!