Family remembers life of local educator after losing battle to COVID-19, sets up scholarship fund in her name

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EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The family of a lifelong educator in the Borderland area shares her legacy with KTSM 9 News, after losing her life to a long battle against COVID-19.

For more than 20 years, Dr. Patricia R. Hernandez affected many lives in the education system by advocating for those who struggled due to their backgrounds or income status. Two of her sons said she’s always had a big heart for helping people.

“She was getting better. We were very hopeful. We continued to be just optimistic about this outcome, regardless of how long she was in the hospital for,” said Vince, son of Dr. Hernandez, “It seemed to us like from one week to the other, she started to have these mishaps every so often where she started to feel like she wasn’t getting enough oxygen.”

Hernandez was fighting her battle in the hospital against COVID-19 since November 19, 2020. Her family says she went through a rollercoaster of inclines and declines with her progress.

“As days came by, we went to go visit her. We continued believe in our faith. Believe that she was going to be healed. Unfortunately came March 7, we got the call early morning that she passed away,” Vince shared.

Back in mid-January, Hernandez was able to awaken from her medically induced coma and was able to see as well as speak with her family.

“I’m just grateful that we had that time with her, to be able to talk to her and tell her that we loved her. She told us that she loved us and it was just kind of funny because some of her personality even came out. So it was just like we thought we had our mom back really, that’s how we felt. It was just a blessing that we had that time with her now that we’ve lost her,” said Joseph, son of Dr. Hernandez.

Hernandez was a lifelong educator and diagnostician for Clint ISD for a few years, nearly 20 years at Socorro ISD, and Las Cruces Public Schools for the last four and a half years.

She leaves behind a legacy from helping many people throughout her life, and inspiring them to work hard along with never giving up.

“A big passion of hers was to advocate for students with learning disabilities and really just students that came from challenging situations,” Joseph shared.

“I feel like our mom was even teaching us when she was sick is regardless of what situations we’re placed in, we always have a choice every day to fight and push through it. I think that’s just something one of many things that she left for us to live on through her legacy,” Vince added.

Another dream she got to experience was becoming a first-time grandmother.

“To know that my mom finally became a grandmother, that was just really special. Unfortunately she was only a grandmother 10 months and we got to spend as much time as we could with her and we’ll always have those memories,” Joseph said.

The family has created the Dr. Patricia R. Hernandez Scholarship fund at UTEP. The goal is to raise $25,000 to start a lasting endowment in her name that will help first generation students, economically disadvantaged students, special education students, and students pursuing a career in education.

If you’re interested in donating to the fund, click here.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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