On a recent Friday, I was fortunate to spend some time celebrating a truly memorable and inspiring person, as representatives of Texas A&M University-Kingsville rolled out the carpet to welcome one of George West’s own — high school senior Kevin Hernandez — to the Javelina family.

It’s sometimes easy to become jaded, especially if you let the avalanche of social media cast its shadows across you or let the negativity of national and international news drag you down. So when you come across a story that is inspiring, it’s like a breath of fresh air or a cup of cool, clear spring water on a blazing hot day.

I received word that Kevin would be receiving his scholarship, along with several special surprises, late the afternoon before the event. While Friday is often a day in which I am scrambling to put the finishing touches on the newspaper, I knew from the press release sent out by TAMU-K communications specialist Julie Navejar that I definitely needed to make time to be there.

When I first covered George West High School football games in 2019, Kevin’s enthusiasm and his love of all things George West was evident. I also remember seeing him travel down Houston Street during the Live Oak County Fair Parade, performing with members of the GWHS and Three Rivers High School bands.

I didn’t notice him being part of this year’s performers in the parade, but it may have been because I was trying to help my son and other children look out for the dazzling amount of candy that was being thrown. My wife had to go to an out-of-town CPR training the day of the parade, but I remember telling her that I didn’t see Kevin in this year’s parade, so I thought he might have graduated.

Next year, unless he is home for the weekend, we won’t be seeing him at George West football games or in the county parade, but the positive impact he has made and the way he has inspired so many people will definitely not be soon forgotten.

It was a joy to have a chance to do a story on Kevin and talk to his family. Because he has such a strong will to overcome challenges and do his best — and to also inspire others — the words “indomitable spirit” just seemed a perfect way to describe him.

We live in a world of ups and downs, positives and negatives, good days and bad days, celebrations and times of sorrow. When we get to be around someone who is truly inspiring, well, we know we are blessed.

Kevin’s principal and assistant principal at George West High School both raved about his positive attitude, his dedication and his friendliness. We need more of that in the world.

Too often, we see the opposite. For some reason, I’m not sure why, it seems easier to complain, to focus on what is lacking and imperfect, in ourselves, in others, in the weather, in the world itself. Kevin has dreams of being a coach and teacher, but it’s also easy to envision him becoming a motivational speaker one day.

We in Live Oak County and the people of George West have been fortunate to have him as a representative of our community. We wish him the best in wherever his journey takes him, and we appreciate the cheers, smiles and encouragement he has given so many over the years.



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