For nearly two decades Jaime Hernandez has been a staple on the sidelines of the football program that he helped found as a way to give back to his community.
But now that he has formally worked his way into retirement from a law enforcement career over the course of the last year, Hernandez – who started the Lathrop Titans back in 2000 and was instrumental in turning the program into a feeder system for a high school long before it was certain Lathrop would ever have one – is now saying goodbye to that post as well.
On Monday, the Lathrop City Council formally recognized Hernandez not only as the outgoing president of the Lathrop Junior Spartans – a program that has been a part of his family for almost 20 years – but as a tireless champion of youth sports and an advocate for the community that has given of himself any way that he possibly can to help make Lathrop a better place for those that call it home.
“It’s unbelievable to get this kind of recognition from the city,” Hernandez said. “I’m honored – that’s the best I can say right now. Above all I’m truly honored that not only did they recognize my efforts, but those of my family – my wife and my children – that have been right with me throughout all of these years that I’ve been involved in the ways that I have.
“My wife and my kids are my rock, and to hear them say nice things about not just me but my family is the greatest honor in the world.”
These days Hernandez spends him time operating a mobile hot dog cart that he tows out to the Lovelace Road Transfer Station on Roth Road on the weekends to “sling dogs” to what has become a steady stream of customers.
Even in retirement, Hernandez said that being around the community and the people in it is still a priority in his life. While he’s going to miss being a part of the program that has brought him so much joy, he now wants to focus on his family – spending time with his children and seven grandchildren –and those that have long been a part of his life.
“Some guys retire to go fishing, and I’m the kind of guy that retires to sling dogs,” Hernandez said with a smile. “I like prepping my food and going out there for the day and doing something that people enjoy.
“I’m thankful for all of the support that I’ve had all of these years from people in this community, and just because I’m stepping away doesn’t mean I still don’t want to be a part of it. But it’s time for somebody for else to take the reins, and I want nothing but the best for that organization.”
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