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MISSION: SERVICE — South Omaha Army sergeant living his American Dream

Posted at 6:39 PM, Oct 04, 2022

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The American dream: a way of life many people around the world often seek. For one local service member, his father's choice to pursue citizenship in the U.S set the course for his military career.

“Everybody comes to the United States achieving, wanting to achieve the American dream. And for me, it was just joining the Army,” said Angel Hernandez.

3 News Now's, Marc Thomas, spoke with the Army Staff Sergeant and South Omaha native.

“I come from a family of immigrants, and for me, the biggest thing is just giving back and saying thank you for the great opportunities that I have received,” said Hernandez.

He says serving in the army was the least he could do for this country since it's done so much for his family.

“My family came here with the intent to create a better life for myself and my siblings. I think that if they would have stayed in their home country, that wouldn't have been a possibility,” said Hernandez.

Hernandez's father came to the United States illegally decades ago for better opportunities and to provide for his family back in Mexico.

He worked hard and eventually...

“My father actually was able to get his permanent residency through the Reagan administration after working in the fields for a long time. And then he was able to achieve his citizenship a few years after that,” said Hernandez.

And that set in motion the trajectory to the present day.

“To me, wearing the uniform gives me a sense of pride,” he said.

Hernandez always wanted to join the Army as a child.

“My parents were a little apprehensive of me joining just because of what was going on with 9/11 and being at war and stuff. But at the end of the day, they knew this is something that I wanted to do and they were very supportive,” he said.

He was a paratrooper and now he works as a recruiter.

“I got a few Black Hawk jumps and a couple of Chinook jumps, a couple of tailgates. So instead of jumping out of the door, you actually jump out of the back of the aircraft as the aircraft is moving forward,” said Hernandez.

He says the Army gives him the opportunity to continue to care for his family, just as his father did for him and his siblings.

“I have four small children and the Army is going to help me guide them in the right direction. It's giving me discipline. It's giving me structure. And I know that those kinds of things are good within a family, and I've been able to instill that in my kids as well,” said Hernandez.

Family is a big part of Hispanic heritage, he says.

“As Hispanics, we're able to embrace different cultures and different people. And it's an interesting and fun culture that involves family and family can be anybody,” he said.

Wanting a piece of the American Dream...

“Just because you are Hispanic doesn't mean you're less than somebody else. You still have the same opportunities as anybody else,” said Hernandez.

Carrying with him the impact of his family history he said, “No matter where you come from, what you do, what month it is, they should always have a sense of pride. Regardless of if it's for your culture, where your family came from, or if it's just being prideful by being an American citizen."

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