The basics: Joe Hernandez of Hanford owns and operates Hanford Yard and Pool Service. He is on the board of directors of The Salvation Army in Hanford and is a deacon at Lakeside Community Church. He and his wife Kathryn have four children ages 18 through 31.
What he does: He is a volunteer who prepares and serves a holiday dinner for the Hanford Police Department’s staff every December.
Why he does it: “I do it because I just enjoy it,” he said. “I’m a servant. I don’t need a pat on the back.”
The turning point: Fourteen years ago, Hernandez was in trouble with the law but turned his life around. “I decided to go straight,” he said.
Details, details: While facing criminal charges, he joined a men’s fellowship group and volunteered five days a week at the Salvation Army, preparing and serving breakfast to the homeless. Ever since, he has been active in The Salvation Army. Seven years ago, the late police chaplain and pastor Andy Abbas at Lakeside Community Church asked Hernandez and others to prepare a Christmas dinner for the staff of the Police Department. “He said, ‘Handle it, Joe,’ ” Hernandez recalled. “He knew I had all kinds of equipment to cook.” The dinner was a success and every December he has been volunteering to make it happen.
What others say: “Joe has been one of the main guys to keep this going,” said Lakeside pastor Stan Plooy, a police chaplain. “Joe is so grateful that Jesus changed his life, he just wants to serve. He’s just got a big heart. He’ll do anything for anybody. He’s a model deacon.”