‘The Voice’ of Plainfield District 202 died Monday morning

Tom Hernandez’s legacy ‘is one of compassion and community’

Tom Hernandez, former director of community relations for District 202 in Plainfield, is seen inside the former Book and Bean Cafe inside the Joliet Public Library on Aug. 25, 2022. Hernandez has battled brain cancer for nearly two years. District 202 is hosting a car parade for Hernandez on Saturday. The community is invited to participate, but registration is required.

A longtime director of community relations at Plainfield Community Consolidated School District 202 died early Monday morning.

Tom Hernandez of Plainfield came to District 202 in 2006 as its director of community relations and remained in that role until 2023. Hernandez was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2022.

In a written statement from District 202, Superintendent of Schools Glenn Wood praised Hernandez’ representation of District 202.

“Tom Hernandez was a true champion for District 202 and was well known for his professionalism, positive attitude and big heart,” Wood said in the statement. “He was known as ‘The Voice’ of 202 because he made the school cancellation phone calls and often served as emcee for district and other events. Hernandez’s legacy is one of compassion and community. He will be deeply missed.”

Linda Taylor, spokesperson for District 202, previously said District 202 is thankful for Hernandez’s decades-long service.

“His caring knew no bounds. He gave his heart and soul to the job,” Taylor previously said. “He cared about the people. He cared about the job. He cared about the kids. He cared about the staff. He’s just got a big heart and gave everybody a piece of it in a lot of ways.”

Hernandez worked as a communications and marketing professional for more than 35 years. He started his career in 1986 as a regular correspondent for The Herald-News in Joliet.

According to Hernandez’s website, Hernandez was a reporter for several suburban daily and weekly newspapers and once wrote a “slice of life” column for another 11 years for two community newspapers.

Hernandez also wrote and published six books and served as co-leader for WriteOn Joliet, an adult writers critique group that meets twice a month at the Joliet Public Library and publishes an annual anthology, to which Hernandez also contributed.

District 202 hosted a drive-by parade for Hernandez on March 16 attended by 150 people, Taylor said.

“Tom Hernandez was a true champion for District 202 and was well known for his professionalism, positive attitude and big heart.”

—  Glen Wood, superintendent of schools Glenn Wood, District 202 in Plainfield

Emma Williams of Lockport, Hernandez’s daughter, previously said her father said he was happy as she held his hand through the parade.

“It was an amazing tribute to my father who adored his job and did everything he possibly could for the community,” Williams previously said. “He just put his heart and soul into his job and into Plainfield. He loved what he did and worked incredibly hard all those years.”

Funeral services for Hernandez will be held 11 a.m. Saturday at St. John Lutheran Church, 2650 Plainfield Road in Joliet.