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Perseverance pays off for 2nd Lt. David Hernandez

Second Lt. David Hernandez displays the document commissioning him as an officer in the U.S. Army. (Submitted photo)

David Hernandez didn’t give up when his first application to attend college on a Reserve Officer Training Corps scholarship was rejected.

And he didn’t quit when the second and third applications were turned down, either.

“I kept applying at different colleges, and I didn’t have any luck,” he said. His high school grade-point average wasn’t high enough.

Then Wentworth Military Academy & College at Lexington, Mo., contacted him to offer a scholarship and possible commissioning as an Army officer after two years of study.

On May 16, Hernandez received his Associate in Science degree and was sworn in as a second lieutenant in the Army National Guard by Brig. Gen. Gregory D. Mason.

He will continue his undergraduate studies in the fall at Norwich University in Vermont, majoring in mechanical engineering, and will serve as a platoon leader for the 131st Engineering Co. of the Vermont Army National Guard.

“We’re so proud of him. He did a good job,” his mother, Krista Hernandez of Hudson, said in reporting about his accomplishment.

Hernandez ranked eighth in his class of ROTC cadets at Wentworth, where he took math, physics and science classes to advance toward a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering.

“I had a very, very fun time,” he said. “I didn’t think I would make it this far.”

Hernandez said he decided to pursue a military career when he was in his junior year of high school.

It was natural choice for him, said his mother, given that she served six years in the Navy and his father was a career Navy man.

Guadalupe Hernandez, who died when David was 12, served 22 years in the Navy, retiring as a chief petty officer.

Second Lt. Hernandez also has uncles who served in the military.

The Hernandez family moved to Hudson from Virginia in 2005. Hernandez has two siblings, an older sister, Dana, and a younger brother, Joseph, a Hudson High School junior.

Hernandez is home for the summer, but he isn’t lying around the house waiting to return to college on Aug. 20. He’s back installing irrigation systems for the company he worked for previously.

“I saw my father working so hard it kind of passed on to me,” he explained. “I’ve never said no to my parents. They always told me, do this, do this, do this. I just did it, and the habit stuck with me all through high school and work. So I don’t stop. I don’t like to stop, anyway.”

Hernandez went through boot camp at Fort Knox, Ky., starting in late August of the year he graduated from Hudson High School. He plans to go to active duty in Army after graduating from Norwich University.

His current military occupation is that of combat engineer.

“It’s pretty interesting,” he said. “We work with explosives, so it’s fun stuff.”

Randy Hanson

Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

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