Growing up in Texas what made you decide to join the Army? I tried the college thing but didn’t do so well. Partying got me off track, and I didn’t want to live with my parents so I decided I needed some discipline and enlisted as a private first class in 1987.

What was your job? I was a medic.

You were in Germany during the fall of the Berlin Wall. What was that like? That was exciting. ... I didn’t understand the full significance until later, and now everyone is like, ‘Wow! you were there when the Wall fell?’

And you got a piece of the wall? Yes, I remember my wife was pregnant and I remember we decided to go to Berlin and the wall was laying there. And I just parked the car and took a good chunk of it. We also have some of the iron fence.

In 1991, the Army sent you to college to become a nurse practitioner. Yes, when I was a staff sergeant I did evening school in San Antonio to get my bachelor’s. Then I spoke to a sergeant first class who helped me earn my direct commission. Then I got my master’s degree from Old Dominion in Norfolk when I was stationed there.

What was it like having four kids, being married and taking all these night classes? There were times when I didn’t think I would make it, but my wife was so supportive and held the family together.

You were deployed to Iraq ... and treated thousands of wounds. What was the toughest part?I did 12 months with the 10th Mountain and 1st Cavalry. I did dismount patrols with the infantry in the Sunni Triangle. ...

What do you do in situations where you have to operate on soldiers in danger of losing their lives? It wasn’t just soldiers; the majority was Iraqis. When you are dealing with traumatic situations you are just focused on trauma care and dealing with saving that person’s life. When I could, I would always give myself time to reflect and collect myself so I could get ready to help lead my soldiers.

Tell us about the National Image Meritorious Service Award you won. It’s an award from a nationally known organization that promotes leadership amongst Hispanics to build a stronger work force of Hispanic Americans in America. I won it for the Department of the Army. ... The award was given for being a top role model as a Mexican-American, but the reality is that I want to be a good role model for all Americans.

You’re a piano man. What do you play? Classical, rock n’ roll? I play a lot of contemporary stuff. I actually like to play Lionel Richie.

Sounds cool. "Penny Lover," "Say You, Say Me?" No, my favorite is "Brick House."

Hey, that’s not Lionel Richie, that’s The Commodores. True, but Lionel Richie was in The Commodores, so close enough, right?

Know someone whose accomplishments,talents, job, hobby, volunteer work, awards or good deeds qualify them for 15 minutes of fame? How about someone whose claim to glory is a bit out of the ordinary — even, dare we say, oddball? Send the person’s name and contact information to:

Maj. David Hernandez

Age: 41

Location: Camp Zama, Japan

Claim to fame: Family nurse practitioner, National Image award winner

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