Citizen Honors Awardee
2009|Citizen Service Above Self Award|Minneapolis, MN
Jeremy Hernandez of Minneapolis, MN, a part-time youth worker, for going above and beyond by saving the lives of 50 children as the school bus they were on was about to plunge into the Mississippi River following the I-35W Bridge Collapse.
On August 1, 2007, Jeremy Hernandez, a part-time youth worker, was on a school bus with more than 50 children who were returning from a swimming field trip, when the bridge they were on—Interstate 35W—collapsed. The bus while on a section of the bridge landed upright on the banks of the Mississippi only a few feet from the water and a semi-truck that was on fire. As the bus neared going into the water, without hesitation, Jeremy jumped over the seats and opened the back door of the bus. One by one, he unloaded the children and directed them to safety. Jeremy was the last one off the bus. All on board the bus were saved that day, and Jeremy stayed with the children until the parents came to collect their children. His courageous efforts that day saved many lives. The extraordinary courage and selflessness displayed by Jeremy Hernandez is an inspiration and credit to the state of Minnesota and to his fellow Americans.