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SOUTHBAY / COMMUNITY NEWS

LAWNDALE : Deputies Honor Grit of a Young Athlete

January 20, 1994

Martin Hernandez once dreamed of a life as a professional baseball player, but a gunshot took that away.

Hernandez, 19, a promising left-handed pitcher, was paralyzed after a drive-by shooting in front of Leuzinger High School in Lawndale last January. But now he will be able to compete in a wheelchair basketball league through a specially designed chair given to him Friday.

John Box, president of the Anaheim-based manufacturer Colours in Motion, donated the $1,700 chair in a ceremony at the Audrey and Sydney Irmas Youth Center on South Vermont Avenue, which operated by the sheriff's deputies of the Lennox Station. County Sheriff Sherman Block presided at the event.

"I just want to thank everybody that's out there that supported me when I was going through all this," Hernandez said.

Now in his second semester at El Camino College, Hernandez graduated from high school with honors in May, four months after being shot. He is a member of the Explorer Academy, which allows youths to work as volunteers at Sheriff's Department stations.

"Martin is an inspiration to the entire post," said Lennox Deputy Val Aquilar, Explorer post adviser. "The rest of the kids just look up to him in awe of all that he's accomplished."

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