Board member Alfie Hernandez reflects on ten years of service with the Joseph Maley Foundation, as a volunteer, runner, and go-to guy for the Run, Walk, Roll.
Why do you Run, Walk, Roll?
I signed up for the first JMF 5K to help support the Foundation at its infancy stage. Hard to believe this is the tenth one! So, every summer I just plan on competing in it. Then I try and wear my JMF Run, Walk, Roll shirt as many places possible to continue to advertise for it.
You are known as the “go-to” man for the Run, Walk, Roll…tables, tents, and everything in between. What other titles have you held in life?
Ah yes, there have certainly been quite a few requests over the years: tables, tents, cornhole, generator, sandwich boards, security staff, safety vests, kiddie dash numbers, 150 traffic cones (my favorite!)… the list goes on and on and varies each year. My day job is the Assistant Athletic Director at Lawrence Central High School. This is the beginning of my 17th year in Bear Country. Prior to that I worked at Cardinal Ritter High School. I spent 12 years in Raiderville. While at Ritter I wore many hats – Alumni Guy, Director of Student Ambassadors, Junior High Coordinator, Teacher, Coach. I also am a part-timer for the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) here in Indianapolis. I’ve been part of the CYO crew for close to 25 years. I help with CYO Wrestling, CYO Track and Field, and CYO Bingo. I am obviously a son and Dad, too. Brother, Uncle, Great Uncle. @supermex55 the list goes on and on!
The Hernandez family has been with JMF since the beginning. What has it been like to watch the Foundation grow and develop over the years? What has this long-time involvement meant for you and your family?
Yes, pre-JMF my wife helped out with disABILITY Awareness Day, Week, Month at St. Monica. That is where all four of our boys attended school, and that is where our relationship started with the Maley Family. Any outing we had or visit to each other’s house involved the Maley Five and Hernandez Four. It was definitely a guyfest! Being part of the Joseph Maley Foundation since its inception has just continued the Hernandez-Maley relationship. We are intertwined on many levels now. My nephew Cory works for the Foundation. I think most of my brothers and sisters have been involved in some capacity as volunteers. Our four kids have also helped out and served on the Junior Board.
What part of the Run, Walk, Roll do you look forward to the most?
The finish!! Haha. My goal for every JMF Run, Walk, Roll is simple. I take the winning time and double it. I try to beat that time. In other words, I don’t want the winner to beat me if they were to run it twice! There have been a couple years that I have had to bump up my game! JR Ricker turned in an incredibly fast time one year. I think it was 14 something. That’s a 28 something for me to beat! I think I am still sore from that race!
What is your favorite memory of the Run, Walk, Roll?
My guess is probably year one. Stacie was planning on walking and I was planning on running. We headed out to Eagle Creek and walked up to the registration table and there was a huge back up. I remember Vivian looking past multiple people in line in front of us and said.,“Do you have any pens?” I went back to the car and grabbed all the writing utensils I could find. Low and behold we became part of the First Annual JMF 5K Registration Team. During that race we were not chipped. We had the numbers that you had to tear off and keep in order. As soon as the race ended, before ice cream, I was in the chute helping tear tags. We then became part of the cleanup crew too. Ever since then we have helped with the JMF Run, Walk, Roll.
What is your favorite JMF memory?
I really like when I am out and about and see JMF t-shirts. There was a guy wearing one at the Jewish Community Center the other day. We walked into the Hernandez Family Race Party and here comes a JMF t-shirt. I was wearing one of them at a bar one day that had “Ask Me” printed on the back. Some lady says to me “well, I have to ask,” so we had a JMF conversation. I think it is a sign of growth.
As a Board member, what do you see happening in the next ten years for JMF?
It has been a whirlwind for the first ten years, with both programming and staff added and creating the JMF identity. I think the next ten years can only get better as we continue and create different ways to make an impact.
Any pre-race advice for runners?
Dear Elite Runners: Please don’t run it too fast! I have a goal to meet!
What would you say to someone who is still on the fence about joining us on July 14?
Come on out and join us! There is a walk, an open 5K, an elite 5K and the 10-Miler. Plus there is ice cream! Be part of a great cause, but don’t go out and break any speed records. My hamstring is a little tight and I don’t want to have to strain it too much!
Loyola University Chicago
Joseph Maley Foundation Board of Directors