Maurice Hernandez has been kicked down time and time again – but his faith, family, and a new job as a wildland firefighter are keeping him motivated to stay on the right path.
After purchasing a one-way bus ticket to Medford in 2017, Hernandez has been working hard to get his life on track.
“Rock bottom has a basement, and it’s deep,” he said.
Hernandez says it was at the Medford Gospel Mission he discovered his faith.
“COVID hit, it was a battle at the church home so I moved on from there and got a job at Harry and David.”
He said his life was moving in a good direction, until last September. The Almeda Fire destroyed a home he had just moved into, taking all of his belongings.
“An officer came and pulled me out and [we] turned around across the street… we watched the structure burn. I slept in Gold Hill that night,” he said softly.
Hernandez says Jackson Care Connect and the Compassion Highway Project helped him find a new living situation.
The help he received even led him to a new job as a wildland firefighter.
“Mother nature is the only thing we can really fight back and not get in trouble for, establish victory – because the fire took everything I had. So now, it’s trying to do it again to other people in the community and I can beat that up,” he told me.
Hernandez says aside from his faith, his two young daughters, 11-year-old Isabella and 9-year-old Jordyn, give him the willpower to keep going. “These ones right here, they moved out here from California to Oregon.”
He dreams of owning a home of his own with livestock in the future.
“I just want to be able to have a manufactured home, enough to put down on a trailer park or lot somewhere, a house would be awesome, but you’ve got to start somewhere.”
Hernandez is currently staying at a hotel in Medford.
He’s saving money for the future and hopes to create a life for himself in Southern Oregon.