Mercy Pedaler Richard Hernandez greets all the homeless people he meets with a friendly, “Hi! I’m Richard,” and a warm smile. As Richard puts it, “It is an honor to meet so many men and women who want to feel valued and appreciated. By peddling around, stopping, introducing myself, I have the opportunity of making an invisible person visible. It is an incredible feeling of personal satisfaction and worth.”
Richard’s parents were farmworkers. He is a Vietnam veteran and a graduate of UC Santa Barbara. Prior to retirement Richard was the Director of Human Resources at the Sacramento Hyatt Hotel. He is now the Director of Outreach at St. Francis Catholic Church. Part of his responsibilities include working with volunteers in the Steps/and Breakfast Ministry which is a parish supported program that shelters 16 men and women nightly 365 days of the year. Richard also works with many other non-profit organizations that assist the poor and needy and act as their advocates to insure their rights are protected.
Richard says that the picture at the top of page reminds him of how fortunate he is and how fragile life can be for anyone of us. Whereas some may view the homeless as “down and out,” Richard sees the courage and strength in those living on the streets. “I am humbled by being able to lend some kind of assistance, be it as simple as just a friendly hello and smile. We all desire to be loved and valued and we must always recognize and not forget that this is also a desire of those less fortunate.”