• May 13, 2024

A Career Welded In Strength Ended Too Soon

A Career Welded In Strength Ended Too Soon

Carlos Pareda-Hernandez passed away on March 16, 2024, two months shy of his college and high school graduations, a milestone his family and friends looked forward to celebrating on May 3 during the South Texas College Dual Credit Programs commencement ceremony.

Instead, Pareda-Hernandez’s brother, Martin Hernandez, will be accepting the 18-year-old’s posthumous degree in Welding.

“He was a great son, brother, student and friend,” said Maria Hernandez, mother of Pareda-Hernandez. “He was responsible, respectful, hard working. He was a great son, brother, friend, and student. He had a future and now, that future is gone.”

It was a fatal all-terrain vehicle (ATV) accident that took Pareda-Hernandez’s life.

His family said he rarely rode ATVs, and on this day, he went with a group of trusted friends to put gas in one, when they hit an embankment and lost control.

“This was the worst day of any mother’s life. This is not the phone call any mother wants to get,” said Maria. “He had overcome so much to get to where he was in his life. He was supposed to weld, work on trucks and cars, that’s what he loved to do.”

A few years back, Pareda-Hernandez’s family lost everything to a house fire. He had dedicated himself to working and going to school so he could help his family get back on their feet.

“His dream was to get a higher paying job so I wouldn’t have to work so hard anymore. He always took it upon himself to help his family,” Maria reminisced.

He was one of four children, and he would travel back and forth from the Rio Grande Valley to Reynosa to ensure his family was taken care of and he would recount his journey at STC.

“He was my role model. I never did anything like this; I never went to college,” said his brother Martin Hernandez. “I’m grateful to STC for giving him hope and opportunity. I’m also thankful to them for allowing my brother to realize his dream on what should have been his special day.”

On Friday, May 3, Martin will accept Pareda-Hernandez’s posthumous degree, being presented by the college and its Welding program.

“It’s true honor to be able to accept this achievement for him. STC is still allowing us to make his dream a reality. I’m so proud of him,” said Martin. “He had a big heart, he had to grow up fast, but he always stayed positive. I never thought this would happen. It wasn’t supposed to be this way.”

In his 18 years, Pareda-Hernandez left a mark in this world among his family, friends, and those he met.

“These have been hard months for everyone who knew Carlos…he made such a big impact in such a short amount of time,” said Martin. “Saturday is going to be really hard, but God has given us strength and I know God and Carlos will be with us…they’ll give us comfort during this moment.”

As for Maria Hernandez, she’s trusting in God’s timing and has some advice to others.

“Be careful. No other family should have to experience what we’re going through,” she said. “Only God knows why this happened, it’s hard, but we must trust his timing. Thank you to STC for giving us the chance to honor him and what he has worked so hard for. His dream has come true, and I know he’ll be watching it all from above.”

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