Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times | Terms of Service | Privacy Policy

Doing good is their life’s work

Jackson Bell

Moy and Erika Hernandez don’t see anything about their new jobs that

needs fixing, so they won’t bother tinkering.

As the husband-and-wife co-captains of the Salvation Army Burbank


Corps, the couple instead plan to continue what they consider a

tradition of quality at the organization.

“Just because we’re new people doesn’t mean we need to change

[anything],” Moy Hernandez said. “We’re instead going to focus on how


we can impact and change lives for the better.”

The Hernandezes met while training in Rancho Palos Verdes to

become Salvation Army officers, and have been married nearly two

years. They were selected in July to head the Burbank corps. Moy, 25,

graduated a year ahead of Erika, 22, and was working in Huntington

Park before they were assigned locally.

Moy Hernandez said their responsibilities are twofold: service as

pastors as well as running the center’s day-to-day operations.


The couple replaces former captains Brenda and Gary Smith, who

were in charge of the Burbank facility for nearly three years. Moy

Hernandez said most officers work at a location between three and

five years.

Erika Hernandez said one reason she believes she and her husband

were selected to run the Burbank corps was because they are fluent in

two languages.

“There used to be an English and Spanish congregation,” she said.


“I figure they brought us in because we can make our programs

bilingual again.”

Along with the responsibilities that come with being co-captains,

the couple has a 2-month-old daughter, Jocelyn.

Serving the Salvation Army comes naturally to Moy Hernandez, a

third-generation Salvationist. His parents worked for the Albuquerque

corps and his grandparents started with the organization in Cuba.

“This has been like a family business on my side of the family,”

he said. “I grew up with the Salvation Army, and I’ve tried all kinds

of jobs but have never found anything as satisfying.”

Elaine Paonessa, a board member for more than 25 years, said the

couple bring a new energy to the Burbank corps.

“They’re young, bright, energetic, happy to be here and [they]

bring enthusiasm to the corps,” Paonessa said. “Once everything

settles, I’m sure it’s going to be exciting around there.”