Jeremy Hernandez - The Bridge to Resilience
MINNEAPOLIS (Aug. 17, 2007) – Navy divers attached to Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit (MDSU) 2 from Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, Va., conduct operations from a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Crane Barge at the site of the I-35 bridge collapse over the Mississippi River. MDSU-2 is assisting other federal, state, and local authorities in the recovery efforts at the site. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Joshua Adam Nuzzo (RELEASED)

Jeremy Hernandez – The Bridge to Resilience. On a warm summer day in August 2007, the city of Minneapolis was struck by an unforeseen disaster that would demand extraordinary acts of courage from its residents. The I-35W Mississippi River bridge, bustling with the weight of rush-hour traffic, suddenly and catastrophically collapsed. As the structure crumbled into the river below, vehicles and their occupants were plunged into chaos and danger. Among those caught in this terrifying event was Jeremy Hernandez, a 20-year-old youth worker whose actions on that day would reveal the depth of his character and the strength of the human spirit.

Jeremy was on a school bus with 52 children, returning from a day camp. In an instant, their routine journey turned into a fight for survival. As the bridge gave way beneath them, the bus fell and landed precariously against a guardrail, teetering over the gaping chasm where the bridge had once stood. The situation was dire, with the potential for further catastrophe imminent. The children were scared, hurt, and in shock, their young lives hanging in the balance.

In the midst of the chaos, Jeremy’s instincts as a protector and caregiver kicked in. He did not hesitate, did not falter. He sprang into action, kicking out the back door of the bus as it lay in its dangerous position. He knew that every second counted and that getting the children to safety was the only thing that mattered.

With the bus at risk of slipping further into the river, Jeremy began the arduous task of evacuating the children. One by one, he helped them off the bus, offering words of comfort and reassurance, his calm demeanor a beacon of stability in a situation that was anything but stable. His courage and quick thinking in those critical moments provided a lifeline for the children, who might have otherwise been overcome by panic.

But Jeremy didn’t stop there. After ensuring that the children from his bus were safe, he turned his attention to helping other victims of the collapse. He traversed the twisted wreckage, offering aid and assistance wherever he could, his actions a testament to the depth of his compassion and bravery.

The nation watched in horror as the events of the bridge collapse unfolded, but amidst the tragedy, stories of heroism and resilience began to emerge. Jeremy’s story was one of them. He was lauded as a hero, a title he humbly brushed aside, insisting he did what anyone in his situation would do. But to those he saved and to a community shaken by the event, he was a symbol of hope and human goodness.

Jeremy Hernandez’s story is a powerful reminder that in moments of crisis, ordinary people can perform extraordinary acts. It’s a testament to the idea that heroism isn’t about having superhuman strength or being fearless; it’s about making a decision to act, to help, and to protect others even when you’re facing the same dangers. His actions on that August day showed that within every individual lies the potential for great courage and selflessness.

Today, the story of Jeremy and the bridge collapse serves as a poignant reminder of both the fragility and the resilience of life. It encourages us to reflect on how we might respond in the face of unexpected challenges and to recognize the heroes who walk among us, often unnoticed until the moment their character is tested. Jeremy Hernandez didn’t set out to be a hero, but when the moment came, he rose to the occasion, and his story continues to inspire and remind us of the power of human spirit and the impact of selfless action.

 

 

Don Leith

By Don Leith

Retired from the real world. A love of research left over from my days on the debate team in college long ago led me to work on this website. Granted, not all these stories are "fun" or even "trivial" But they all are either weird, unusual or even extraordinary. Working on this website is "fun" in any case. Hope you enjoy it!