Americans spend the upwards of five hours a day on their cell phones. And while most of us are usually doing everything but actually talking on the phone during those 300 minutes, the dying wish of a sickly veteran may have you reconsidering whether there are more important things to do than another game of Candy Crush or scroll through Instagram.
Army veteran Lee Hernandez is receiving hospice care at his home in New Braunfels, Texas. The 47-year-old, who served the country for nearly two decades, including a tour in Iraq, has undergone three brain surgeries and suffered several strokes that left his vision and cognitive function impaired. Doctors have been unable to determine the root cause of Hernandez’s symptoms and, as a result, do not have an effective treatment option.
But Hernandez’s wife, Ernestine, has discovered something that makes her husband feel better. One day, Lee asked her to hold his phone “in case someone calls.” After two hours without a ring, he sadly declared, “I guess no one wanted to talk to me.”
“It broke my heart,” Ernestine told AZ Central. “His speech is not very well, so many people didn’t take much interest or want to talk to him.”
Determined to brighten her husband’s day, Ernestine got in contract with “Caregivers of Wounded Warriors” to spread the word that her husband was looking for someone to talk to. The request for calls and texts was subsequently shared by some veterans groups on social media, and the response has been overwhelming.
“A lot of people call to pray with him,” Ernestine said. “It really uplifts him.”
Since Lee is blind, Ernestine reads him the text messages that come through, but he gets great joy out of hearing the messages of love and support. While Lee’s condition hit “rock bottom” about a year ago, Ernestine describes her husband as a “fighter” who has “beaten the odds” because “his strong will keeps him going.”
You can reach the Hernandez family at 210-632-6778. Ernestine said the best time to get in touch is between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Central Time, when Lee is most alert and respondent, despite the heavy doses of pain medication he is on.
“Thank you everyone for your calls and support. I am trying to give him the best life I am able to with the help of my mom,” Ernestine said. “The experience is very painful, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.”