Family Focus

10 siblings will start school prepared thanks to Charlotte Fire Department

The school year is about to begin, and a little family full of big hearts and 16 children, 10 of whom are school age, will be rolling out early Monday morning for school.

And, thanks to the Charlotte Fire Department, this family of students will arrive to class very well prepared with all the school supplies they need to have a successful start to the new school year.

The tiny community of Druid Hills in Charlotte is home to the Hernández family.

On Monday, when the students head back to school, the bell will ring with 10 of the Hernández kids returning to class.

To help them start the school year off right, firefighters from Charlotte Fire Department Ladder 28 rolled up at the home of the Hernández family.

With flashing lights and a blast from the fire truck, the kids enthusiastically waited in line to receive new backpacks filled with school supplies.

“We have the twins who start pre-K, and another starts first grade, others second, and third and so on... there are 10 of them,” said Patricia Hernández.

This has been no small task for Mrs. Patricia Hernández, 39, and her husband, 38, owners of a cleaning service company.

They admit that raising so many children can be stressful, but they still foresee new additions to the family in the future.

All of the kids have names that start with the letter ‘C,’ after their father.

The family was thrilled and grateful when they learned that they would be receiving school supplies and backpacks.

“Oh yes, they are very excited! We needed this, and we thank God for this blessing and you for bringing the backpacks,” Hernández said.

Just as quickly as they were handed their backpacks, the kids opened them up to find them filled with everything from calculators and markers to crayons and highlighters, folders and composition notebooks.

“Times are a little difficult right now, so if we can help them in this way, that’s even better,” said Ferney Mercado, Charlotte Fire Department firefighter.

No visit from the fire department would be complete without kids hopping into the fire truck along with little Kevin Hernández asking to drive the big, red rig.

Even though he didn’t get behind the driver’s wheel, it didn’t quell his enthusiasm.

The goal of this effort is to allow the children to focus on learning and being successful in school so they can reach their dreams and have a better future.

This initiative between the Charlotte Fire Department and Telemundo Charlotte will make a huge difference.

“That’s what matters, that they focus on getting good grades. Everything begins with school,” Mercado said.

The Charlotte Fire Department is currently working with WSOC-TV collecting school supplies for 9 School Tools.

WSOC-TV’s 9 School Tools campaign is a part of the Channel 9 Family Focus brand and was introduced in 1997.

Covering over 22 counties, 9 School Tools is the largest school supply drive in the Carolinas and has served over 4 million children to date.

If you have an inspiring story to share, email Kevin Campbell, public affairs manager at WSOC-TV/WAXN-TV/Telemundo Charlotte, at