A husband and a father of four, Jose Hernandez, often called Pepe by his family and friends, was no stranger to service, from his four years in the army to his two-year mission in Costa Rica for the Church.
“He loved God and was a faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” his family wrote in a statement. "Pepe was a real patriot. . . . He loved his wife and children with all his heart. He loved people and enjoyed working as a DJ for church and other special events."
Following his life’s pattern of faith, service, and sacrifice, Hernandez’s final act was one borne of love and selflessness.
After seeing a mother and her son fighting while on his mail route, Hernandez intervened in an attempt to mitigate the situation and was fatally shot by the son.
Hernandez’s brother was not surprised by the way Hernandez intervened to help someone in need, saying, “When we found out that this happened to him, we felt that that was a way that if he were to choose a way to leave this earth, it would probably be doing something like that. . . . In his mind and in his heart, he always thought and did things like a superhero," according to krqe.com.
Hernandez was beloved by the Albuquerque community as well, having exemplified friendliness and joy during his time as a mailman and earning the nickname of “Jose the friendly mailman,” according to azfamily.com.
"It is not a rare thing for him to step in and help somebody. I mean it would have never crossed my mind that he would not help somebody," said Len Johnson, a citizen of Rio Rancho, according to krqe.com.
Hernandez's willingness to go above and beyond to befriend others was a common sentiment shared among community members.
“Jose was a very special guy. . . . He'd go out of his way. He would talk to you,” said Michael Shepherd, Hernandez’s neighbor, according to CNN.
While he was many things, Hernandez, in his obituary, was remembered as "a faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a loving husband and father, a patriot, and a friend to many."