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Auto Collision Student Awarded 3M Grant

Thursday, June 6, 2013
By Eladio Jaimez

3M GrantFor 10 years, Johnny Hernandez of McAllen made the United States Army his life.

An Infantry man, Staff Sergeant Hernandez served two tours in Iraq in 2003-04 and again in 2006-07. Last year, Hernandez completed his service to his country and decided to go back to school enrolling in the Auto Collision Technology program at Texas State Technical College.

On Wednesday, 3M made it easier for Hernandez to continue his studies by presenting him with a grant worth $2,500 to purchase tools and equipment needed to start his career in collision repair. The grant is part of the 3M Hire our Heroes Campaign and made possible through a collaborative effort by 3M and the Collision Repair Education Foundation.

Hernandez was elated to receive the grant.

“This is definitely going to help me a lot,” Hernandez said. “There’s a saying in the military, ‘you don’t go to war without your weapons.’ Well you can’t go to work without your tools either and these grant will help me buy the best equipment out there.”

Hernandez was one of 59 winners nationwide that included 54 military members and five family members of veterans.   

The 3M Hire Our Heroes campaign has a goal to donate up to $250,000 to benefit returning veterans and their families. The donation is based on the sales of select popular 3M products.  The campaign began February 1, 2013 and will conclude on September 30, 2013. 

Hernandez said life after the Army wasn’t easy. Injuries sustained during combat made it hard for him to find work immediately after returning home. That’s when he decided college was his best option.

“You can never go wrong with an education,” Hernandez said. “I’ve always loved working on vehicles and restoring them. I even have an old truck and with the things I’ve learned here, I’ve started to repair it myself.”

Hernandez is two semesters away from completing his Associate’s Degree in Applied Science.

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