Baltimore (USA), .- The vice president of the United States, Mike Pence, outlined Wednesday as an “example” for Hispanics across the country to the special agent in charge of his security, Héctor Hernández, who received a prize for his career in the Secret Service.
Born in El Paso (Texas) into a family of Mexican immigrants, Hernández is the first Hispanic in history to lead the Secret Service team responsible for the safety of the vice president, and today he accepted the “Águila” award from the Association of Hispanic Police Command Officers (HAPCOA, in English).
“My great pride is to be the best ambassador of my family and of my Hispanic heritage,” said Hernandez during the award ceremony, aimed at recognizing the excellence of Hispanic agents in the security forces across the country.
Hernandez has spent almost three decades in the Secret Service and worked to ensure the safety of three US presidents – Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama – before being assigned, in 2017, to the Pence protection team.
“(Hector) is one of the favorites of the Pence family, for his character, for his bravery and for the professionalism he is (…) So when I heard that he would be given this prize, I asked,” Can I go? ” , explained Pence during the event, held in Baltimore (Maryland).
“You are an inspiration to the men and women of the Hispanic community who work today in security agencies or aspire to do so, and we are grateful for that example,” the vice president told Hernandez.
The special agent played a leading role in protecting Bush on the night of September 11, 2001, Pence said.
Hernandez was in charge of the midnight shift shortly after Bush returned from Florida, when “an unidentified plane began to approach the White House.”
Although the incident was not over, “was Hector who came running (in the White House) and rushed to take the president and the first lady to a safe place,” said Pence.
In 1995, after the attack in Oklahoma City that left 168 dead, Hernandez “dug in the rubble” of the federal building attacked to “recover the remains of six companions”, and his testimony was “crucial” to achieve the death penalty. of the person responsible for the attack, Timothy McVeigh, said the vice president.
In his speech, Hernández paid tribute to his parents, who came to the country from Mexico in 1959 and “never accepted the help of anyone” to start their new life in the United States.
He joked that his two older brothers gave him “the odd beat or punch affectionate”, but also made him become fond of football and then wrestling, a sport that he “fell in love” and with which he came to compete ” on an international level”.
Hernández, a graduate in Political Science and Sociology from Highlands University in New Mexico, received the award accompanied by his wife Jodi and their two adult children.
During his visit to Baltimore, Pence also met with agents of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service (ICE), who gave him information about the operations against drug trafficking and the MS-13 gang in that city. (EFE)