Portraits of Courage Exhibit Hero Spotlight: Juan Carlos Hernandez

by | May 7, 2024 | Exhibits, News

Specialist Juan Carlos Hernandez– Born in Mexico, Juan came to America at the age of nine with his mother and two brothers. Upon graduating high school, he joined the Army. As Juan describes it, “I wanted to be part of something bigger than myself and do something that I would forever be proud of. But for me, the main reason was to give back to the country that had done so much for my family and me.” Juan deployed to Afghanistan as a door gunner on a CH-47 Chinook. On a nighttime mission in 2009, a rocket-propelled grenade hit the helicopter causing him to lose his right leg. After receiving life-changing physical therapy, Juan was inspired to pursue a degree in kinesiology so he can give back and work with people who struggle with disabilities. 

Courtesy of President George W. Bush

Juan became an American citizen in May 2009 at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan. President Bush describes him as “a selfless soul with a servant’s heart. He is proud of and grateful for the opportunity to have served this country—his country.”

Portraits of Courage will be on exhibit at the Nixon Library for its West Coast debut through May 19, 2024, thanks to the generosity of Lisa Argyros / Argyros Family Foundation. Tickets to the special exhibit are included with admission to the Nixon Library.

Portraits of Courage by President George W. Bush is on loan from the Argyros Collection at the George W. Bush Presidential Center, a non-profit whose work includes helping veterans and their families make successful transitions to civilian life.